Friday, May 29, 2015

GODLY MEN AND WOMEN

Sirach 44:1-23;

As we continue along this journey with the book of Sirach, we encounter these words of the sacred writer, "I will now praise the godly, our ancestors, in their own time."

Then he goes on to mention that these godly men and women of old were to be found in a variety of walks of life: subduers of the land (farmers, ranchers), counselors, seers, princes, lawgivers, sages of composition, writers of proverbs,  composers of melodies….


Where do we find godly men and women?  We find them anywhere and everywhere.  Godliness is meant for every one.


When is the last time we used the term "godly" to describe someone?

Do we consider ourselves in the category?

Do we live our life in such a manner that when we die the first word pressed upon the lips of those who mourn would be that we were "godly?"


If not then it is time to reevaluate our purpose in our life!

To be godly means to put god first in everything.

I heard a conversation yesterday evening while I was with a group of people celebrating life.  While in line, I over heard a conversation that was striking.

A lady in leaned over to the person in front of her and said these words, "faith is a very personal thing so one must be careful when they speak to another about it."

It is true that faith is personal but personal doesn't mean private.  In fact,  think it time we stopped tiptoeing around the topic all together.

Faith is personal because God has revealed himself as a personal God, "the God of Abarahm, Isaac, and Jacob."

Yes it demands a certain degree of delicacy not because of the the believer but because of the one we believe in.

Secondly, personal faith does not mean what i believe is ok and what you believe is ok and we should just get along.  Belief must be rooted in truth.  There is only one truth not multiple truths.

A conversation, a dialogue,a  discussion should constantly be had about our beliefs so that we can get down to the truth of the matter and remove ourselves from the dross of our own opinions.

Just as Jesus  in today's gospel chases the money changers out of the the temple (Mark 11:11-26) he demands a try understanding of faith and wants to remove the dross of error.

Just because someone believes something personally doesn't mean they aren't personally in error.  The only way to get the heart of the matter is by conversation, public conversation, discourse, and continued  faith seeking understanding.

Just a thought.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

NO COUNSELOR

Sirach 42:15-25Ps 33 By the word of the Lord the heavens were made; Mark 10:46-52

As we continue to be guided by the reflection of Sirach, a few words stand out this morning: "he is from all eternity one and the same, with nothing added, nothing taken away; no need of a counselor for him!"


These a few words the sacred author gives us in regards to better understanding who God is.  We are told that God does not need a counselor.  Think about these words for a minute or two.  A counselor is someone who advises another, gives them direction, guidance and helps point them in the way of wholeness, hopefully anyway.

How often do we try to counsel God in our life?  How often do we try tell God what he should be doing, how he should be doing it?

Yet, we are told no need for a counselor for him.  Today try not to counsel God in the way he should act in your life.  Rather, be open to his counsel, and pray for the ability to accept, to surrender, for the grace to be led by Him.

In the gospel today we meet the blind man, Bartimaeus, on the roadside to Jericho.

Side note: Last night I got a cal around 10 am from a gentleman who was stranded on the side of the road.  He was looking for assistance.  It seems Bartimaeus makes an appearance often around these parts.

Back on track.  The crowd was trying to keep the blind hand silenced as he cried out for Jesus' attention.  It makes one wonder who is really blind, Bartimaeus or the crowd.  Bartimaeus is well aware of what Jesus can do.  He sees clearly who needs to be in contact with.  The crowd though they see physically are blind spiritually.

It's the same in our society today.  The crowd wants to silence those who cry out for Jesus.  Which means, like Bartimaeus, we need to cry out all the more.  We must refuse to be silent. Just because we are told to quiet down doesn't mean we should.

Bartimaeus is a good witness for us.  He refused to be hushed by the crowd.  We too must rediscover our voice.  We need to speak up, speak out.

Bartimaeus finds what he is looking for and it isn't just his sight but rather a path way of life and love as scripture tells us, "immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way."

Once again God who needs no counselor gives counsel and the wise man follows the path illumined by Christ.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The SAME OLE SAME OLE

Sirach 36:1,4-5,10-17; Mark 10:32-45

It seems nothing changes.  The demands of Christ remain the same and the longing of the human heart remains the same as well.

Look at the first reading from Sirach: "Come to our aid, O God of the universe, look upon us, show us the light of your mercies, and put all nations in dread of you!...Give new signs and work new wonders...Give evidence of your deeds of old; fulfill the prophecies spoken in your name, reward those who hope in you..hear the prayer of your servant...lead us in the way of justice."

This could be a prayer of anyone and everyone especially these days as ISIS threatens the security and safety of people in the Middle East.  How often those being persecuted voiced a prayer similar.  And yet it is a prayer that most likely dates to 200 BC.

The human heart is what it is and wants what it wants.

Then we look to the gospel and we find nothing new.  For Jesus, service never goes out of style.  Jesus constantly insists on service and being a servant rather than being served.

Yet we discover the disciples violating the tenants of humbly by asking to sit one on the right an left in glory.  Jesus reminds them that it isn't a matter of just asking but doing and living: must be a servant of all.

True humility as St Francis de Sales reminds us involves generosity.  Humility in the heart produces generosity in life.  Thus service remains a constant for all of us.

The Same ole same ole.  That's the way we need it.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

JUST ONE QUESTION

John21:15-19

Today we encounter Jesus asking Peter a threefold question which is really one question.  In fact, the question Jesus poses to Peter is the only question that should concern us in life.  The answer to this question will help us move forward.

Think about all the questions we ask God on a regular basis.  Think about the thousand questions that go unasked but fill our hearts and minds.  Yet, all those question pale in comparison to the one question of Jesus.  The question of Jesus is the answer to all of our questions.

Think about that for a moment: the question Jesus poses to Peter is the answer to all the question we may pose to Him.

Here it is:  "Simon, Son of John, do you love me more than these?"

Do yo love me more than these?

This is the question that answers all the questions of our life.

No matter the circumstances we may go through or have gone through the question of Jesus should alway be both in the back ground of our lives and front and center as well.

For if we can truly answer this question, then we will discover that all of our questions will find their proper place in life.

Do you love me more than these?

Only the affirmative will bring us the peace and strength as the journey unfolds.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

CHAOS AND WISHES

Acts 22:30;23:6-11; Ps 16 Keep em safe, O God, You are my hope; John 17:20-26

Today int he first reading we catch a glimpse into  St Paul's playful side.  Being under arrest, he is made to stand before the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  Knowing their difference in opinions in regard to Spirits, angels, and the resurrection, St Paul uses this difference to cause an uproar.  It is actually well played on his part.

The moment he calls out that he is under arrest because of his belief in the resurrection the two factions get into a dispute, chaos follows.  I always imagine St Paul smiling when he spies what ensues.

St Paul certain knows how to use humor and truth to leave a lasting impression. It is definitely worth the read.

Secondly, Jesus has these words for us: "Father they are your gift to me.  I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world."

We all have wishes and desires and we chase them wildly.

We forget JEsus has a wish as well.  He wishes that we would be where he is.

Think about that today.  IT is worthy of thought.

We can wish upon a star or we can live so has to fulfill the wish of Jesus.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

GENTLENESS

I was thinking about gentleness today.  As we find ourselves in the middle of the Novena to the Holy Spirit and meditating on the fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, I gravitated toward gentleness.

We read these words in the psalm for today, psalm 68:Blessed day by day be the Lord, who bears our burdens.

Now is there a better definition than this to understand gentleness?

Gentleness can be seen as the way we bear he burdens of another.

God bears our burdens.  In fact, a more literal translation of that line can be, "God carries us."

We are God's burden and he gladly carries us.  In fact, he has carried the weight all the way to calvary that we might be set free.

Jesus tells us in the gospel, unless we deny ourselves, pick up our cross daily, follow him, we can not be his disciples.

The greek word for picking up the cross as Jesus mentions it is to carry what ha already been lifted.  Now how is that for true gentleness. Jesus is just demanding we carry the load but he is inviting us to carry what he himself as already lifted high.

Today, think about how you bear the burden of another.  Do we press down on them to make the load heavier or do we help raise the burden in their lives after the model of Christ himself?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

FRUIT LOOPS

Acts 1:15-17,20-26; Ps113 The lord will give him a seat with the leaders of his people; John 15:9-17

When I was in Costa Rica a few weeks back there was much to see.  The wild life was pretty awesome,  But the strangest and most surprising thing was to see a Toucan in the wild.

It is crazy because all I could think about was fruit loops and Toucan Sam.

Which brings me to the gospel.  Jesus tells us "It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain…"

What of this fruit Jesus is speaking?

Obviously, He is not speaking about fruit loop cereal.  Yet, He is think about the fruit of the spirit that he has given us.

St Paul in Galatians outlines the fruit we should be bearing in our life: love, joy, peace, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, self-control, gentleness.

This is what needs to unfold in and through our life.  As we begin the novena to the Holy Spirit tomorrow, we should look again at the fruit  of His presence in our life.

Last little fact: Toucans regulate their body temperature by adjusting flow of blood to their beaks.  They share this in common with most humans, we also seem to adjust our temperature by blood flow to our mouth, if yo catch my drift.