Wednesday, September 28, 2016


Job 9:1-12,14-16;  Ps 88 let my prayer come before you, Lord; Luke 9:57-62

We continue to read from the book of Job.  In today's segment, Job finds his voice, he finally speaks up.  This is Job's second time to speak up after his friends tear into him.

The first time job complains.  He just complains a lot.  Go read chapter 6 and you will find comments such as, "for the arrows of the Almighty are in me, and my spirit drinks in their poison" and much more.

But now we find job with a different sentiment in his mouth. Here after his second friends commentary, Job stands differently; he begins not with complaint but rather with praise.  Here is a man who has lost everything and with every reason to complain and shake his fist at the heavens he dug deep within and he formulates a litany of praise to God, "God is wise in heart and mighty in strength...he alone stretches out the heavens..."

It is praise rooted in the reality that before God no man is justified.  No man can stand on his own merit before the Lord.  In this reality check  can praise truly begin to be authentic and healing as it becomes for job.

In the gospel today we hear the words of Jesus, "Follow me."

What is this but an invitation to learn, to watch, to keep close attention.  It is a pathway of apprenticeship.   Only in staying behind Jesus can we truly know him and love him.  Only in staying behind Jesus can we actually begin to imitate him in our own lives.  The best perspective is always from behind.

True leaders in faith are those who never take over the driver seat but refer the back seat and let Jesus drive.

What excuses do we use to keep from following?  What excuses do we come up with to justify taking the lead?

Like with Job, praise resounds the greatest when we lean in from behind and stay close to the footsteps of the one who calls out "follow me."

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


1 corinthians 7:25-31; Ps 45 listen to me, daughter; see and blend your ear; Luke 6:20-26

Because all the early Christians assumed that the second coming of Jesus was imminent, all stable human  institutions were under judgment and were approached with caution.

The expectation of the second coming colored the perspective of the early Christians.  sometimes unfortunately this expectation is lost to us and we go about our business as usual.  This business as usual approach can be destructive.  Also, just living with the expectation of the second coming as if it were everything can also be destructive.

The proper attitude is to keep both in tension as we journey through life.
It is the expectation of the coming of Jesus that empowers the daily grind of living and loving to be elevated, to become supernatural experience of charity, hope, and of faith as we anticipate tomorrow as another day to work vigorously for the vineyard.

This is why the church holds in great regard the beauty of the sacrament of Marriage as a source of grace not only for the couples themselves but for the world.  In the sacrament the couples become a witness to divine love.  This is not as st Paul describes an affliction to run from but an affection or pressure that purifies and makes holy.

We turn to Jesus in the gospel.  We encounter the beatitudes.  Blessed are the poor, the hungry, weeping, those who are hated account of the son of man.   Rejoice and leap for joy.

Recently i came across a christian song that was popular when i was in college.  DC Talk was the all the rave as christian bands went and one of their songs was entitled, "Jesus Freak."

Here are a few of the lyrics,

"What will people think
When they hear that I'm a Jesus freak
What will people do when they find that it's true
I don't really care if they label me a Jesus freak
There ain't no disguising the truth
Kamikaze, my death is gain
I've been marked by my maker
A peculiar display
The high and lofty, they see me as weak
'Cause I won't live and die for the power they seek
People say I'm strange, does it make me a stranger
That my best friend was born in a manger
People say I'm strange, does it make me a stranger
That my best friend was born in a manger"

It made me think of the beatitudes. 

Poverty, hunger, tears, outcast...Jesus freak in deed. 

Does the Spirit make a difference

1 corinthians 6:1-11 Ps 149 The Lord takes delight in his people; Luke 6:12-19

I heard someone say the other day that if God were to remove his Spirit from us it would take 3 months before we ever noticed it.

It was a striking statement to make and a more striking reality check for myself.

I began to ask myself whether or not i would notice.  Not only would i notice but do i notice now, the difference God's Spirit, the Holy Spirit, makes in my life.

What about the rest of us?  Is there a difference living in the Spirit as opposed to living without the Spirit?  Would we notice if God removed his Spirit from us?

St Paul is asking the very question to the early Christians in  the community of Corinth.

He is reminded them that as believers who are baptized that the Spirit of God is empowering them in such a manner that they have a greater capacity to see and judge more clearly than the rest.

Hear again his words, "How can any one of you with a case against another dare to bring it to the unjust for judgment instead of to the Holy Ones?"

St Paul believes that those who have been giving the Spirit of God at baptism have a capacity that others do not.  In other words, the Spirit does make a difference.

It is a good opportunity to see if we allow the Spirit of God to make a difference in our life.  Are we aware that we are different because of the Spirit of God that animates our life? Do we let that Spirit guide us forth?

If you are not sure if you are living a spirit led life then look at Galatians chapter 5: fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, generosity, faithfulness, self-control.

Jesus chooses the twelve in today's gospel.  After choosing them we are told that he stands on "a stretch of level ground" with them.  Jesus incorporates the twelve as coworkers, human agents, partners in building and spreading the kingdom.  He empowers them to do what he himself does.

Their is something different about us when we let the Spirit lead us forth.