Invisible Man – Good News for February 21

21 02 2009

Hebrews 11:1-3, 6

Brothers and sisters, Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested. By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.

But without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

The Daily Path: I cannot see God as I see my wife, children and friends. He doesn’t knock on my door, enter my house and put food in my refrigerator. I won’t see Him walking into the bank, greeting the teller, or depositing funds into my account so that I can pay the mortgage. 

Even though I can’t see God do any of these things, He’s doing them. I believe that God is responsible for all the blessings that have come my way. Today I can say that I have complete faith in God as the master architect in my life. Although invisible, He’s revealed himself to me. Not in the same way He did with Peter, James and John up on a mountain (Mark 9:2). Instead God has revealed Himself in the face of others who enter my life and the unseen groundwork that enables me to find true abundance.  

I wish I could do a better job of explaining faith. All I can tell you is the more I stay connected to God, the more He reveals himself to me. Though invisible, I have faith that God exists.

Room to Chat: Yesterday afternoon I had the opportunity to stop at St. Monica’s Church for some quiet time with God. While I was there, an elderly woman came into the chapel. She had a respiratory ailment of some sort and could barely breath after the short walk from the parking lot. She sat down trying to catch her breath. Then the woman began to pray. Although she intended to pray quietly, because of her difficulty breathing, her words became audible to those of us in the chapel. The first thing she said to begin her prayer was “I love you, Jesus.”

Wow! How is that for a prayer?

The Trading Bell – Good News for February 20

20 02 2009

Mark 8:34-9:1

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it.

What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

He also said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.

The Daily Path: This morning, Jesus spoke at the New York Stock Exchange. There was absolute silence on the trading floor… 

How would that scenario play out? Would the silence penetrate hearts? Would it be a catalyst for real change? Or would the opening bell ring and the frenzy begin again… with the words of Jesus laying crumpled on the floor under so many feet? 

The analogy of Wall Street keeps the message at arms length… but the problem is right here in my life, too. I get caught up in the world. In possessions. In the greed of ME. And don’t be fooled. You can be just as greedy living in poverty as you can dashing about the country club.

I don’t want to be ashamed of God, nor do I want God to be ashamed of me. This is why I have to keep reminders of Him in my life  throughout the day. If I don’t… the trading floor frenzy will return and replace the silence.

Room to Chat: Today might be a good day to reflect on where greed has created a wound in our life.   Lord heal these wounds and make us whole again.

“Oops” I Did It Again – Good News for February 19

19 02 2009

Mark 8:27-33

Jesus and his disciples set out for the villages of Caesarea Philippi. Along the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.”

And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Then he warned them not to tell anyone about him.

He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and rise after three days. He spoke this openly.

Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. At this he turned around and, looking at his disciples, rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

The Daily Path: Poor Peter. He always starts out doing great. Then he starts thinking like a human and that’s when he always gets into trouble. I don’t know my Scripture well enough to quote, but two other instances come to mind. One when Ol’ Pete leaps out of the boat and begins to walk on water toward Jesus. “Hey wait… I’m human. I can’t do this.” Splash. The other is at the Garden of Gethsemane on the night Jesus was arrested. Peter says “No way Lord, I’ll never betray you.” Oops.
Most days I feel like Peter. I’ll start out trying to live as Christ taught. Next thing you know… “Oops.” I start thinking like a man and fall down. The good news is that Jesus always gave Peter another chance. Just as he does with all of us.
Room to Chat: Today, when you have “Oops” Moment Number 4,023,677, just get up. Dust yourself off and say “Sorry, God. May I have another chance?”

Beggers All – Good News for February 18

18 02 2009

Mark 8:22-26

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida, people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked, “Do you see anything?”

Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”

Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly. Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”

The Daily Path: “people… begged Jesus to touch (the blind man).”

During my re-conversion I’ve become acutely aware of the power of prayer. I’m convinced that it was prayer asking God to bring me home that eventually enabled that to happen. The vast majority of those prayers came not from me (the blind man) but from so many family and friends (the people). Many of those prayers came from a mother begging Jesus to touch her son.

My point here is that like the crowd who brought the blind man to Jesus, each of us has the opportunity to present someone to God for healing. I don’t suggest throwing them in the trunk of your car and driving them up the steps of the local Catholic church shouting chapter and verse. However, I do recommend you pray for their healing.

I’ve come to believe, through my own experience, that Christ asks us to tell Him what we want. Don’t be timid. Ask for BIG things. Present to Him ALL the blind, the sick, and especially the wounded in your life. Including yourself. Ask Him to lay His hands on those who need healing.

It may not happen overnight, so keep at it. Remember the blind man required a double dose from Jesus to fully restore his vision. So ask Jesus often… and as many times as it takes. He IS listening to you and all “the people” who beg Him to act.

Room to Chat: Can you find time today to quietly ask God to heal someone you know?

Uh, Can You Repeat That Again? -Good News for February 17

17 02 2009

Mark 8:14-21

The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 

They concluded among themselves that it was because they had no bread. When he became aware of this he said to them, “Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?”

They answered him, “Twelve.”

“When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”

They answered him, “Seven.”

He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

The Daily Path: I would have made a good Apostle because  I don’t always get the lessons the first time, nor do I retain them for as long as Jesus would like. In some cases, even his own Mother, the blessed Mary, didn’t fully understand. At least I’m in good company. 

Room to Chat: Here in Northern California we’ve had our prayers answered as the clouds have opened up with a lot of rain over the past week. Thank you God!! Here’s something I’ve discovered… talking to God with the sound of  rain falling in the background is a pretty cool spiritual experience.  

Back In The Boat – Good News for February 16

16 02 2009

Mark 8:11-13

The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”

Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.

The Daily Path: There are many days when I just want to climb back into my little boat head off to another shore. Sometimes life’s pharisees get in your face and you realize you’ve had enough “bullogna” for one sitting. In those instances you can deal with it or you can go find some of the joy that God’s put in your life.

“Amen, I’m outta here. Go find yourself someone else to rile up.  God and me are going fishing.”

Room to Chat: Fishing is a great time to talk to God. You’re outdoors and there aren’t many interruptions… at least for most of us.

The Morning After – Good News for February 15

15 02 2009

1 Corinthians 10:31

Brothers and sisters, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God. Avoid giving offense, whether to the Jews or Greeks or  the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in every way, not seeking my own benefit but that of the many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Today’s Responsorial

I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.

The Daily Path: Today’s second reading and responsorial are timely on the morning after celebrating Valentine’s Day.  Yesterday there were many acts of love and affection. And yes, lustful passion, but that’s another story. Here in North America, billions of dollars were spent on flowers, candy, gifts, dinners, greeting cards and little paper valentines. All to express joyful feelings towards another person.  

This morning countless people will get up and continue their lives as though nothing of significance had occurred just hours before. The paper valentines will be in the recycle bin (I hope), their sentiments now a shadow. Wrappers from decadent candies become a glaring reminder of the blown diet. Some may wish they hadn’t participated in the amorous adventures of the previous evening and now find themselves looking for a quick get away. There my friends is the point… why do we retreat so quickly from a day, even a moment,  focused on expressing love?

The Gospel over the past weeks has told of the crowds who rushed to Jesus every moment as He healed the sick, performing miraculous acts of love and mercy. Have you ever stopped to wonder what they all did the next day? Perhaps they beat a path back to wherever as if nothing had occurred. Or maybe the rapture of witnessing Christ passed from them like so many chocolate-covered strawberries shared by two lovers? 

What if we declared that everyday were Valentine’s Day! 365 spent imitating Christ by routinely expressing our love for others? Making love to God as a daily occurrence. Perhaps the responsorial should be: 

I turn to you, Lord, each day, and you fill me with joy.

Room to Chat: Let passionate thoughts of God turn you on.