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.

Do The Math – Good News for February 14

14 02 2009

Mark 8:1-10

In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat, Jesus summoned the disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.”

His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?” Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They replied, “Seven.”

He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them,and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd. They also had a few fish.
He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also.

They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets. There were about four thousand people. He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples  and came to the region of Dalmanutha.

The Daily Path – Seven loaves and a few fish to feed four thousand. The math doesn’t add up. But Jesus wasn’t teaching his followers any mathematic principles of this world.

In these challenging times so many of us feel as though we are down to our last few loaves with many days of hunger still ahead. But as the disciples and many thousands discovered that day, Jesus takes care of those who follow Him. This was a lesson for the ages.

No matter how bad your current situation, trust that God will satisfy your needs. The  “math” won’t add up. Don’t even bother trying. But do believe with all your heart that God will care for you. He will hear your prayer. He will feed you. He will bring abundance and joy into your life. He has done it for me and will also deliver for you. 

Room to Chat: Right now, before you do another thing, ask God to take care of you and your family.

Ephphatha! – Good News for February 13

13 02 2009

Mark 7:31-37

Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis.  And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.  He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said,
“He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

The Daily Path: I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. For many years I was deaf to God’s messages to me. Apparently He grew tired of this after being petitioned for so long by my parents and others. So one day He said “Enough is enough.” and stuck His finger in my ear. I remain astonished how suddenly I could hear again. Now I’m proclaiming He can do all things… and does.

Room to Chat: With a long weekend of activity ahead I hope you will still find time to spend with Christ. I’m sure He likes to have fun, too.

At The Feet Of Jesus – Good News for February 12

12 02 2009

Mark 7:24-30

Jesus went to the district of Tyre. He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice. Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.

He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.”

When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.

The Daily Path: Mark’s gospel offers me two things. First, that I need a daily reminder to throw myself at the feet of Jesus in complete surrender. I must learn to humble myself and stop reaching out to wrestle back control of my situation. 

Second, it’s a reminder that I am not first. Who around me is worse off? Who can I help? These are desperate times for so many. Where is the abundance in my life that I can share?

Lord help me to see where I am needed most. Show me the way.

Room to Chat: I find that the more time I share with God the better my day is.

Hungry Man – Good News for February 11

11 02 2009

Mark 7:14-23

Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.”

When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, “Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)

“But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”

The Daily Chat: I find myself growing increasingly hungry for a deeper understanding of the spiritual journey. The more I talk with God the hungrier I get. What once seemed so simple is gradually becoming more complex to me. Perhaps this is the weakness in me trying to once again take control of the situation. Maybe it’s normal for someone who has experienced a deep conversion. I don’t know.

One thing I clearly understand: how Jesus’ disciples felt. “Give us a break. We’re trying to understand as best we can.”

Room to Chat: Another hunger exists within me. The desire for more time to reflect. We move at hyper-speed in this country. I feel like a traveler on a Japanese bullet train trying to enjoy a glimpse of beauty just beyond my window. However, the train is traveling so fast it’s difficult to catch any detail of the surroundings. As long periods for contemplation are near impossible to find, the need for the mini-retreat becomes increasingly important to me. Moments of sanctuary to focus on God.