They Took Offense – Good News for July 31

31 07 2009

Matthew 13:54-58

Jesus came to his native place and taught the people in their synagogue. They were astonished and said, “Where did this man get such wisdom and mighty deeds? Is he not the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother named Mary and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas? Are not his sisters all with us? Where did this man get all this?”

And they took offense at him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house.” And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.

The Daily Path: “And they took offense at him”

Last evening my father told me a story about how he once invited two men of color to an event hosted by an organization he belonged to. During the 1960’s this same organization was very active in the community, often doing good works in all parts of the city where we lived.

At one point during the event a man who had known my father for many years questioned him about the wisdom of his action. The same man, who professed to be Dad’s friend, then went off and spoke to some other members who clearly had taken offense to this perceived “transgression” of the organization’s unspoken “rules”. These “gentlemen” asked to talk with my father outside where he was met with more criticism and a verbal assault for bringing non-whites to the gathering.

“Who do you think you are?” one asked.

Another even went to so far as to repeatedly poke his index finger accusingly into my father’s chest to accentuate his displeasure.

How is it that a group of individuals can act in wisdom with one breath, yet demonstrate total ignorance with the next?

Why does “ME” so often take offense at what “ME” doesn’t understand?

Why can’t “ME” have enough faith to just be “me”?

Room to Chat: Lord, grant me the vision to always see your way and the wisdom to understand it.


In The Bucket – Good News for July 30

30 07 2009

Matthew 13:47-51

Jesus said to the disciples, “The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

The Daily Path: I know that one day, maybe even today, I’ll be called before God for a final performance review. When that time comes, my life will be judged. it will either be the bucket of eternal life or the scrap heap.

I spent many years in the shadows. Too many for my redemption? That’s up to God. But I believe in Christ’s promise of eternal life with Him. I believe in His promise of forgiveness. As I accept Christ’s promise and teachings, I must also accept responsibility to recognize where I fall short and continually strive to do better.

Everyday a new opportunity exists to draw closer to God. I hope that in the hour when I am called to stand before God it will be in the midst of doing what Our Lord has asked of me. I’d like to have at least a foot in the bucket.

Room to Chat: Lord, help me to see my shortcomings today and everyday so that I might learn to do better in living the life You have asked of me.


Sitting Courtside – Good News for July 29

29 07 2009

Psalms 84:3-6, 8-11

My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord. My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest in which she puts her young– Your altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God!

Blessed they who dwell in your house! continually they praise you. Blessed the men whose strength you are! They go from strength to strength.

I had rather one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

The Daily Path: People pay many thousands of dollars to sit courtside at a Los Angeles Lakers basketball game. Hollywood celebrities like Jack Nicholson have held the rights to these seats for many years. Sitting next to the court where the best in the world ply their trade bring these people greater prestige and the ability to be ultra close to something they love. It’s part of human nature to bask in the presence of perceived greatness.

Why then do most of us fail to exert the same effort to be close to God?

The marquee professional teams sell out every game charging ticket prices that amount to a year’s wages for many. But go to daily Mass and you could probably play basketball in the empty pews of the church… even though there is no charge to sit with The Greatest of all.

The Lakers offer fleeting pleasure. God offers an eternity greater than a fraction of a second of the best moment in our entire human existence.

But all too often we forget this. Sadly, some don’t even realize the existence of the best game in town.

Room to Chat: I had rather one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.


Pitch Your Tent – Good News for July 28

28 07 2009

Exodus 33:7-11

The tent, which was called the meeting tent, Moses used to pitch at some distance away, outside the camp. Anyone who wished to consult the Lord would go to this meeting tent outside the camp. Whenever Moses went out to the tent, the people would all rise and stand at the entrance of their own tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent.

As Moses entered the tent, the column of cloud would come down and stand at its entrance while the Lord spoke with Moses.On seeing the column of cloud stand at the entrance of the tent, all the people would rise and worship at the entrance of their own tents. The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one man speaks to another.

The Daily Path: Moses placed the meeting tent away from the activity of the main camp. I can only assume this was Moses way of 1) putting an exclamation point on separation between human living and the spiritual life requested by God; and 2) ensuring that those wishing to be in the presence of God could find some peace in order to prepare their own hearts and minds for a conversation with the Father.

I’m like many people who get “busy” living life. Unfortunately in doing so, I place far too many things ahead of the Lord. All too often I fail to go to my tent and converse with God. While I strive to go to church, the physical meeting tent, for Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, or just quiet reflection, all too often I forget my inner tent. Even in the most chaotic surroundings, each of us have the ability to quiet our mind and withdraw from what is going on around us. In those moments, no matter how brief, we can talk face-to-face with our Lord.

No columns of cloud… only time seeking the presence of God.

Room to Chat: Get outside the busy camp of living. Pitch your inner tent. Find peace in the Lord.


Your Garden – Good News for July 27

27 07 2009

Matthew 13:31-35

Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds. “The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed
that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”

He  spoke to them another parable. “The Kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.”

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables. He spoke to them only in parables, to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:

I will open my mouth in parables, I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation of the world.

The Daily Path: Are you a loving gardener? Do you tend the mustard seen within your heart so that it can flourish?


Seeing Him – Good News for July 23

23 07 2009

Matthew 13:10-17

The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Why do you speak to the crowd in parables?” He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted. To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.
Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in them, which says:

You shall indeed hear but not understand, you shall indeed look but never see. Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts and be converted and I heal them.

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

The Daily Path: What prevents me from always seeing and hearing Our Lord? Am I keeping God behind me instead of in front where I can always see and hear Him?