Thursday, October 23, 2014

THE EARTH IS FULL OF THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD

Ephesians 3:14-21; Ps 33 The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord; Luke 12:49-53

The response for today's psalm is the following, "The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord."

It was striking to read that this morning especially after i checked the headlines on the news for today: rampage in Canada, teacher murdered in VErmont, teens hit and run on a 9 year old, more jihadist, domestic violence in the NFL, stoning to death in Syria, husband charged with killing wife, wife charged with killing husband, Satanist wants to talk about the black Mass ebola still on the move, and the list goes on.

And yet this morning we hear that refrain nice again, "The Earth is filled with the goodness of the Lord."

People wonder where is the goodness of the Lord.

The word "goodness: in today's refrain is the hebrew word hesed, which is the mutual concern that marks the relationship of covenant members with each other.  It mutual care and concern.

We are all covenant members with God.  We have been asked to have mutual care and concern for one another.  We bring the goodness of God to the world daily by our mutual care and concern we have for those we encounter.

This is the way the goodness of the Lord fills the earth.

This morning after I read the headlines and then the refrain I stepped outside and caught a glimpse of the rising sun.  Everything was bathed isn a orange glow.

It reminded me that in order for the goodness of the Lord to fill the earth, we have to be willing to step outside, step outside the headlines and zoom in on what is around us and there reach out in mutual care and concern and watch the goodness of the lord blossom.

It is easy to lose sight of God' s goodness when we focus on the headlines.  But lets focus elsewhere. We must remember, even division is a sign of God's goodness, "Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? no, I tell you, but rather division."  We have to be willing to be part of that division, stepping outside the bounds of the world so that the goodness of God can reign.


SAINT JOHN PAUL II

Wednesday October 22, we celebrated for the first time the memorial of John Paul II.  This is very unique for me.  This is the first time that someone in my life time has been canonized and raised to the roll call of saints.

Usually when we celebrate memorials of men and women who faithfully followed God they lived several hundred years before our time.  But not John Paul II.  He was on our TV screens.  He came to visit Texas.  He was very much apart of our faith life for many years.

It is quite a unique experience to be celebrating his life and legacy now at the altar as one enrolled in heaven.

Some years ago I received a book, not sure from who, that was entitled "Breakfast with the Pope." This was a small book that had little daily reflections or excerpts from Pope John Paul II's writings, homilies, teachings etc.

One of those pages contains what I believe to be the central theme of his teaching in regards to grace and the human heart.  This is what St John Paul II had to say, "The true Christian is a living gospel, written in flesh and blood, proclaimed with every beat of the heart.  By our life we assert the relevance of Christ and the unceasing newness of the gospel."

Think about that for a moment or two or the rest of your life.

The gospels are not just words written on a page in the bible: MAtthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  Rather the gospel is being written by our life daily. It is a lived reality.  We belong to the narrative of salvation. Each day a new chapter is being written about Jesus and his church and his impact by the life we live.

This is pretty powerful stuff.

As John Paul II also stated, "we are not the sum total of our failures and weakness, but the sum total of our Father's love for us and the real capacity to become the image of the son."

St. John Paul II intercede for us.

Here are few more quotes from John PAul II, "Stupidity is also a gift from God, but one must not misuse it."


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

READY TO OPEN IMMEDIATELY

ephesians 2:12-12; Ps 85 The Lord speaks of peace to his people; Luke 12:35-38

Jesus said to his disciples, "gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master's return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks.  Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.  He will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants."

This week I have had several funerals and I have a few more up head.  The ages of these persons who have made the transition from this life to the life to come is quite the contrast: 31, 92, 62.  They certainly have the first, second, and third watch covered.

Once again life has a way of reminding us all of just how valuable and precious our time is.  It also reminds us that we should not take any moment for granted. We should strive to be ready to open at any moment.

Each day calls for an attentiveness and a deep awareness of the nudging of God.  As we practice responding  to his promptings daily, opening immediately our life to his presences and his will then we will find ourselves ready no matter what hour of our life we are called to be with him.

This is the hope that St Paul speaks of in the first reading, "without hope with out God in the world." In Christ Jesus we have become near by the blood of Christ.  In Christ the dark door of tomorrow has been thrown open wide.  The mystery of what lies ahead is less mysterious because of Christ.  He has gone before us.

We do have an inside scoop so to speak if we trust the witness he brings as he journeys form death to life and holds a promise out to us.

We cannot live as if this world is as good as it gets and yet in embracing the hope we have in Christ then we strive to make this world better through our service of one another in Christ.

Practice opening immediately to the nudging of God today.  Be the servant.

Friday, October 17, 2014

GAME BALL

Ephesians 1:11-14; PS 33 Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own; Luke 12:1-7

Often times after a big weekend of football, whether it be highschool or college or even Pro, some body will get the game ball or will be nominated offensive or defensive player of the week.

This player impressed the coaches and did something to help the team experience victory at least one more week.

I wonder if God handed out game  balls, would any of us have impressed him?  Did any of us help others experience victory this week?

The saints are those who receive game balls from the church.  They are recognized as players of faith who impressed the world and society around them with victory and who continue to impress us as we journey in faith.

This week a couple of game balls went to St Teresa of Avila and St Ignatius of Antioch.

St Teresa was a woman of great resolve and clout.  She wanted to dedicate herself completely to the service of God.  She has several quotes that I think will be helpful for us as we journey in the life of faith.

She said w emus always remember the body wants more than it needs.  What we desire isn't always helpful in the spiritual life.  We have to discipline our desires just like we discipline our bodies in order to be spiritually fit.

Secondly, she said, true strength rises in obedience.  The yardstick for love is shown in obedience to God and to his church.  Rebelling against church teaching, doing our own thing is a sign of weakness not of strength.  We have told by our society just the opposite.  We have been acting as if rebellion is the true strength of soul and look what it has done to our society.  The yardstick of love is obedience.

St Ignatius was a big gun in the early church.  He was a pupil of St John, the writer of the gospel of John.  He was bishop of Antioch from 70 AD- 107AD.

He was arrested for his faith and was sentenced to be thrown into the coliseum to the wild animals.
In his life he tried to "imitate the passion of God."  Think about God's passion!  How do we imitate that passion in our daily lives?

He also said that together, we believers are like a choir  that in harmonious love we sing a song to the Father.  However, many of us sing a little off key and are not on the right pitch.  Our song to the Father has been drown out by those who are Christian in name only.

Lastly on his way to be fed to the lions he stated the following, "It is not that I merely want to be called Christian, but Ito actually be one.  YEs, if I prove to be one then I can have the name. Come what may:fire, cross, wild animals, mangling of limbs, crushing of my body, cruel torture-0ne thing, let me get to Jesus Christ.


He only wanted to be near Jesus.  Give me Jesus was his battle cry.  Click here for a song!
May you get your own game ball and experience victory for  the team.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

MEMORIALS AND MONUMENTS

Ephesians 1:1-10; PS 98 The Lord has made known his salvation; Luke 11:47-54

What's the point of monuments and memorials?  Who or what are we honoring?  what are we trying to remember?  And do they in fact make an impact on the lives of others?

Jesus calls into the question the memorials and monuments  of the prophets of his day.  What was the motivation of erecting these things and what did they it actually recall?

In Jesus estimation, the memorials were not erected out of honor for the prophets but rather to recall their murder because they spoke the truth.

The same reality happens in our day in age.  I think about the Holocaust Museum.  It helps us recall the tragedy of inaction.  The museum and monuments of the Holocaust remind us what happens when we move too slowly; it reminds us what happens when we delay our response or refuse to see what is right before our nose. It is a glaring indictment on humanity that refuses to seek the good of the other.

It is this inaction, the inability to stand for truth and justice that is meant to pierce our stubborn minds and hard hearts.


It is one thing to build a monument it is another to roll up our sleeves and get busy with elbow grease and sweat equity.

Stones are easier to deal with then flesh and blood and it is flesh and blood Jesus wants to stay close to and wants us to stay close to as well.

What monuments or memorials keep us from rolling up our sleeves in our own lives?  What monuments represent our own inactivity?

 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

FAITH WORKING THROUGH LOVE

Galatians 5:1-6; Luke 11:37-41

Here are two phrases to ponder over the next week

"For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor circumcision counts for anything, but only Faith working through love."

Jesus tells us in the gospel as he speaks to the scribes and pharisees, "But as to what is within, give alms, and behold everything will be clean for you."


Faith working through love.

This phrase can be taken many ways.  One way is the following that faith is working out the kinks in love as we experience it daily in the ebb and flow of life.  Love sometimes gets bottlenecked in life do to our reactions to various circumstances outside of us and our temperaments inside of us.

Faith is trying to iron out the kinks in love as we mature in the Spirit.

Think about the kinks you experience when you try to love another or even respond in love to God.  What keeps holding us back?  What runs interference on daily basis: pride, arrogance, greed, anger, gossip, running at the mouth, hurtful thoughts, lust and the list could include much more.

Faith in practice seeks to iron those realities out of our life as we journey forth.  In Christ Jesus what counts is Faith working through love.  Sometimes we just got to be patient and work it out.

Friday, October 10, 2014

TEAM WORK

Gal 3:7-14, PS 11 The Lord will remember his covenant for ever, Luke 11:15-26

Every body knows that team work is necessary. A unified front makes life more meaningful, easier, less stressful.

Team work.  Team work.  Team work.

There is no I in Team.

No man is an Island.

The cliches are through the roof on this one.  Team work is a must in life, in family, in school, in church in everything.

Jesus drives home the point once again.  "Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste..."

Then he concludes with this little nugget, "whoever is not me is against me, and whoever doe snot gather with me scatters."

The analogy I use this morning with the school kids is the following.

I asked if any of them like football.  What would happen if every time the quarterback stepped back to throw a pass and his own lineman turned on him and sacked him?

The kids response was, "why would they do that?"

But then again why do we do that?  How often do we refuse to work as a team in love or in life?  How often do we refuse God the right to call the plays in our life?  How often have we turned to sack him by our actions?

Why do we bring more division and less unity?

The beauty is God keeps getting under center and keeps calling plays!
One day maybe we will get it!

Team work.  That they may all be one!

In the words of St Therese, "Your face is my only homeland, It is my kingdom of love."