The Belle of Freedom – Good News for September 18

18 09 2009

Luke 8:1-3

Jesus journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Accompanying him were the Twelve and some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chuza, Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their resources.

The Daily Path: This week I lost a very dear and old friend. I first met her along with her two pals, Peter and Paul, way back in September of 1963. For the better part of nine months I would listen to her on an almost daily basis. She spoke of social justice, the meaning of freedom and the joys of living. My friend was a beautiful blonde who was older than me. I think I had a bit of a crush on her. She possessed an incredible voice that could be a powerful hammer or tender as a mother nurturing her baby child.

Over the years the interactions with my friend grew fewer and far between. However, when we did connect it as was like we’d never been apart. The old memories would come rushing back as joyous as ever. For a few moments we would bond as we always had, then go our separate ways until the next time. I don’t think I’m the only one who experienced this with her.

Mary Travers died on September 16 after battling leukemia. Her band mate, Peter Yarrow said that “(Mary) was incapable of lying, as a person or as an artist.” I believe that is true. Though I never met Mary Travers in person, the music of Peter, Paul and Mary was played by my kindergarten teacher each day. It was more than a calming influence on me and my classmates at nap time. The music also taught us life lessons that remained with me long after those early school days. At a time in our nation’s history when human beings stood up for the rights of others, Mary’s voice was, as the song says, “a hammer of justice and a bell of freedom.” Paul Stookey shares that “she was brave, outspoken and inspiring – especially in her defense of the defenseless.”

Even though I migrated towards other musical genres later in life, I always stopped to enjoy the music of Mary Travers whenever it crossed my path. I guess the “crush” continues to this day. I’m certain that my friend Mary is now sitting with our Father in Heaven lending her angel’s voice to the chorus. God must be pleased that her gift was used so well while she was on earth.

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Saving Faith – Good News for September 17

17 09 2009

Luke 7:36-50

A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.”

Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

“Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?”

Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.”

He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”

He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

The Daily Path: I want to share this passage from Timothy 4:12-26 as it has great meaning to me personally.

Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. Until I arrive, attend to the reading, exhortation, and teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands by the presbyterate.

Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to everyone. Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.

In recent days I have felt a little disconnected. I can’t explain why as I don’t understand it myself. But then again, I don’t need to rationalize, nor should I. The good news is that right on schedule, God sent me a little reminder this morning through St. Paul’s pastoral epistle to Timothy. I’m reminded to “be diligent” and “persevere” along my spiritual journey and continue what I have been inspired to do.

I’m not special in this reminder. We all feel disconnected at times. And God reminds us all to remain diligent and persevere in our faith… so that we will be saved.

Room to Chat: Father, thank you for holding me close. Continue to shepherd me in the true direction. Keep this reminder fresh in my mind and heart.


Perfect Love – Good News for September 14

14 09 2009

John 3:13-17

Jesus said to Nicodemus, “No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

The Daily Path: As you look into the eyes of a child, especially your own, it’s difficult to imagine how anyone could even consider sacrificing that beautiful being for the good of another. I don’t know how Abraham could obey God when he was asked to sacrifice his only son. Somehow he loved God so much that he was willing to follow God’s command… even as it broke his heart.

Yet God did not ask of Abraham something that He himself was not willing to do. God offered up his only son, Jesus, not just to death, but to die a horrible death of unimaginable suffering, so that we could all be saved. That is a level of love that generally seems beyond the comprehension of most of us.

Would I have the strength to follow God’s will if asked to make such a sacrifice?

The concept seems impossible to such a flawed being like myself. Yet, I have seen miracles in my own life brought about through faith in Christ. God has not asked me to sacrifice my child, but He has asked me to live a more perfect life in sacrificing other things, By giving part of myself to assist another. He’s yet to ask anything of me that I’m not capable of. I think it is in this way that we, too, are called to follow His example.

Room to Chat: Lord, each day you ask us to offer up a small piece of ourselves. Send your Spirit to give us the vision to see these opportunities and the strength to follow your example.


Good News for 9/11

11 09 2009

“To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.” – Jesus

Look Up – Good News for September 10

10 09 2009

St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians 3:1-11

Brothers and sisters,

If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way. But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths. Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.

The Daily Path: I find it so easy to focus on what’s here on earth, rather than what awaits with God.

Room to Chat: Lord, help me to keep my eyes fixed upward.


A Daily Path – Good News for September 9

9 09 2009

Luke 6:27-38

Jesus said to his disciples, “To you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.

Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. For if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do the same. If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners,
and get back the same amount.

But rather, love your enemies and do good to them, and lend expecting nothing back; then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as also your Father is merciful.

“Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

The Daily Path: Perhaps I should post this directive all week. Truly, words to LIVE by.


Emmanuel Stimulus – Good News for September 8

8 09 2009

Matthew 1:18-23

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.

When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means “God is with us.”

The Daily Path: Today is the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It’s the first reminder that we are drawing steadily closer to Advent. Sadly, it also warns me that in just a matter of days Macy’s and other retailers will give birth to a new Holiday shopping season. Soon we’ll enjoy sleigh bells at the mall, although the thermometer will still read 80 degrees. The “biggest sales of the season” will be heralded with newspaper supplements every other day. Television advertising will quickly shove Thanksgiving aside and get straight to the business at hand. Making money. We’ll hear that Christmas shopping is good because it stimulates the economy. CNN will track leading and lagging indicators. The media will tell the story of a woman who is sent to the hospital after she’s crushed by a stampede of bargain hunters… people who cared more about saving money than the fellow human being who’s fallen body stands in their way.

On this day, let’s recall that the Angel of the Lord told of the coming of God. That He would soon be with us in human form as the baby Jesus. Rather than entering this frenzied madness to stimulate the economy, let’s begin stimulating a new outlook in the months leading up to the celebration of the Savior’s birth.

Starting today, consider this: How we can begin preparing the gift of ourselves? Lasting gifts to the Father, those we love, and to the fallen stranger laying before us.

Only 108 days left to wrap yourself up!