The Pleasing-God-O-Meter – Good News for March 31

31 03 2009

I wish I had a Pleasing-God-O-Meter…

John 8:21-30

Jesus said to the Pharisees, “I am going away and you will look for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going you cannot come.” So the Jews said, “He is not going to kill himself, is he, because he said, ‘Where I am going you cannot come’?”

He said to them, “You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world. That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins.” So they said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “What I told you from the beginning. I have much to say about you in condemnation. But the one who sent me is true, and what I heard from him I tell the world.” 

They did not realize that he was speaking to them of the Father. So Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me. The one who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, because I always do what is pleasing to him.” Because he spoke this way, many came to believe in him.

The Daily Path: Let’s break it down. Live in a way that is pleasing to God and we will not be alone, instead He will be with us. Seems that Jesus teaching is pretty simple. If only I had a Pleasing-God-O-Meter that sounded an alarm in my head when I’m about top act in a manner that is NOT pleasing to God.

What’s that you say? I do? My ubiquitous Catholic guilt?

Very funny. I want bells and whistles. On second thought, I might end up like Quasimodo from all that ringing. “The bells! The bells!”

Room to Chat: O LORD, hear our prayer for Michael, and let our cry come to you. Hide not your face from Michael in his days of distress. Incline your ear to him; in the day and night when he calls, answer him speedily. (Today’s novena prayer interpreted from Psalms 102:2)

Leave The Olives Behind – Good News for March 30

30 03 2009

Neither do I condemn you…

John 8:1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him.

Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him.

Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

The Daily Path: The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem is referenced a number of times in the New Testament. Jesus taught and prayed there. The night before he was to be crucified Jesus went to the garden at its foot known as Gethsemane. He asked the Apostles to sit with him while he prayed to the Father asking to be relieved of the sacrifice that lay ahead.

It’s interesting that in John’s account of Jesus amazing act of forgiveness toward the adultress, that the Mount is again referenced. I think we all have our own Mount of Olives where we pray asking our Father to remove the burdens we carry. In some cases those burdens are sin. I’ve come to understand how sin lurks waiting to pounce in a moment of our weakness, allowing the evil one to claim temporary victory. Yet each time I fail, Christ is right there holding out the promise of forgiveness. And each time He picks me up and dusts me off. Like the woman accused in today’s Gospel, Jesus sends me back on my way asking that I leave those sins behind… like olives that have fallen off a tree to be trampled under foot. 

Room to Chat: Lord, please keep Michael close to you this day. Let your love provide the sanctuary he needs. (See Room to Chat: Come Out – Good News for March 29)

Come Out! – Good News for March 29

29 03 2009

The dead man came out…

John 11:1-45

The sisters of Lazarus sent word to Jesus, saying, “Master, the one you love is ill.” When Jesus heard this he said, “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was. Then after this he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.”

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

He became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.” But some of them said, “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?”

So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?”

So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.”

And when he had said this, He cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”

Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.

The Daily Path: If you have read some of the past 174 blogs I’ve posted here you may have a sense that Jesus called out to me, just as he once did to another dead man. I was not physically dead, although God gave me quite a scare a few years back. However, I was spiritually dead. I was in my tomb for a lot longer than four days. It was more like 30 years, and I’m sure that the stench of my decay was troubling to many. Fortunately, my tombstone was eventually rolled back and a loud voice that couldn’t be missed called: “Kin, come out!” 

Room to Chat: I would like to ask the readers of Good News To-Go! to keep a young man by the name of Michael in your thoughts and conversations with God, between now and Easter. Michael leads a troubled life that finds him in and out of group homes and court ordered incarceration. His adopted parents, some of the kindest people you could ever meet, are filled with anxiety each night, never knowing what the night will bring for their son. Please join me over the next 13 days in asking Jesus to call to Michael as he once did to Lazarus.

Never Before – Good News for March 28

28 03 2009

Never before has anyone spoken like this…

John 7:40-53

Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, “This is truly the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?” So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him.

So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?” The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.” So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.”

Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them, “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” They answered and said to him, “You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” Then each went to his own house.

The Daily Path: “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.” 

I can understand what the guards of the chief priests felt after hearing Jesus speak. When my ears were finally opened to hear the word of Christ, nothing to that point had ever had such an impact on me. Your experience, outlook and internal response mechanisms are changed.

The only comparison I can offer is falling in love. There’s a feeling in your heart that is unlike any other. When the lightning bolt hits, you can’t get enough of that person. You desire more and more. That’s how I feel with my faith in God. I want more and more of me to be touched. I want my old ways of living to die so that a more perfect me can be born. Note that I say “more perfect”, not perfect. Complete perfection can’t happen, but anything is an improvement over my old model. Something has to die in order to be reborn.

As I said, never before have I experienced anything like what God has brought to my life.

Room to Chat: Never before have I wanted to find ways to spend time with God as I do now. I’m actually disappointed when I don’t get enough in my day. The spring weather is kicking in here in California, meaning the hills are green, the weather is warming up, and it’s the perfect time to get outdoors. Regardless of where you are, take a walk today and talk to God by enjoying the beauty around you. Allow yourself to see the things as never before.

Know Him – Good News for March 27

27 03 2009

John 7:1-2, 10, 25-30

Jesus moved about within Galilee; he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him. But the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was near. But when his brothers had gone up to the feast, he himself also went up, not openly but as it were in secret.

Some of the inhabitants of Jerusalem said, “Is he not the one they are trying to kill? And look, he is speaking openly and they say nothing to him. Could the authorities have realized that he is the Christ? But we know where he is from. When the Christ comes, no one will know where he is from.”

So Jesus cried out in the temple area as he was teaching and said, “You know me and also know where I am from. Yet I did not come on my own, but the one who sent me, whom you do not know, is true. I know him, because I am from him, and he sent me.”

So they tried to arrest him, but no one laid a hand upon him, because his hour had not yet come.

The Daily Path: Today’s Responsorial Psalm (37:17-23) provides a nice reflection for anyone feeling a little down. It’s also a reminder to put your trust in God because he’s right there for anyone who wants to know him.

The Lord confronts the evildoers, to destroy remembrance of them from the earth. When the just cry out, the Lord hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the Lord delivers him. The Lord redeems the lives of his servants; no one incurs guilt who takes refuge in him.

Room to Chat: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.

Doing God – Good News for March 26

26 03 2009

Why do people talk so much about God instead of doing God?

John 5:31-47

Jesus said to the Jews, “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true. You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept human testimony, but I say this so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf. But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life.

“I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.  I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God? Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope. For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me.  But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

The Daily Path: “I always was wondering: why people talk so much about God instead of doing something good.”

I want to thank Viktoryian for posting this comment on Good News To-Go! It’s really quite profound and gives me a real life example of what Christ is teaching. In the today’s gospel reading we find another scenario in which the Pharisees are trying to find fault with Jesus so they can get rid of him, and in doing so eliminate the threat to their positions. The Pharisees were quite good at “talking about God” but as we are shown in the gospel, failed at living God’s message… doing good (doing God) as people in their positions should have. They were too busy feeding themselves (ego).

As Viktoryian points out, we still see this today. I’m not going to throw stones at the crystal palaces of others, when in my own life I fail to “do God” in all the opportunities presented to me. We all have the chance to live a godly life. Some have the ability to live in the public eye and lead many by example. The vast majority of us live in relative obscurity, yet we have countless chances to demonstrate our faith with quiet acts love and mercy. One of the things I love about how Jesus worked is that after performing a miracle he often said, “Tell no one of this.” In other words “do God but don’t trumpet your good acts for your own benefit.”

Thank you, Viktoryian. peace

Room to Chat: Today, I’m asking for the ability to see and act on even a single opportunity to do God. Can you join me?