Barren or Fruitful? – Good News for October 24

24 10 2009

Luke 13:1-9

Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them — do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”

And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree  but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’

He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”

The Daily Path: Looking at my own life, there must have been a legion of gardeners pleading my case. “Please sir, don’t cut him down yet. Give him another season. We’ll provide even more fertilizer! There will be fruit in the future.”

A couple of figs have been harvested in recent seasons, but nothing like what this old tree should be producing. I know my gardener is in the midst of providing even more spiritual cultivation. Hopefully, He’ll see the harvest and expected return on investment.


Are Lives Being Changed? – Good News for October 23

23 10 2009

Psalms 119:77

Show me your compassion that I may live.

The Daily Path: Eight simple words that reveal so much.

Reflections: I’d like to share a snippet from Fr. Richard Rohr’s commentary on what he calls The Emerging Church.

“Another exciting piece of Emerging Christianity is that, really for the first time, we’ve stopped idealizing or being preoccupied with the top. We have turned to a search for actual gifts, real service, and proven holiness. What we need now is simple competence in doing the job of revealing, healing, and reconciling this pained humanity and this suffering world.

The first question is not, “Is she trained in theology?” or “Is he ordained?” The first question is “Can she do the job? Is he changing lives? Is it working?”

For centuries we have argued about bishops, ministers, priests, and protocol, with few results and more divisions. Now we realize that it is simple competence and holiness that finally matters. Are lives being changed? Are people meeting God, themselves, and one another in good and healing ways? All the rest is window dressing. Jesus had legitimization from no formal institution, but he sure did the job.”

In my own experience, it’s always been the living examples of Christ’s compassion and forgiveness that draws me closer. Meanwhile, management has often had the opposite affect.

Jesus changed lives.


Prospering – Good News for October 22

22 10 2009

Psalms 1:1-4, 6

Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night.

He is like a tree planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.

Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.

The Daily Path: I was delighted to see “management” reaching out to bring Catholics and Anglicans back together. What is even more pleasing is having already experienced a common dialogue right here in this blog, among those of us who sit in separate tents, but recognize we are all one sky… and the light in that sky is God. So to all my brothers and sisters in faith, I’m glad you sit alongside me. It makes the journey that much better.


Living Under Grace – Good News for October 21

21 10 2009

St. Paul’s letter to the Romans 6:12-18

Brothers and Sisters,

Sin must not reign over your mortal bodies so that you obey their desires. And do not present the parts of your bodies to sin as weapons for wickedness, but present yourselves to God as raised from the dead to life and the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness. For sin is not to have any power over you, since you are not under the law but under grace.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace?  Of course not! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, although you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient from the heart to the pattern of teaching to which you were entrusted. Freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness.

The Daily Path: Sometimes a portion of these readings just leaps off the page for further reflection. Here is one such example from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans: For sin is not to have any power over you, since you are not under the law but under grace.

Living under grace…


Be Prepared – Good News for October 20

20 10 2009

Luke 12:35-38

Jesus said to his disciples, “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants.”

The Daily Path: Was the founder of Boy Scouts inspired by Luke’s gospel when establishing their “Be Prepared” motto? Hmm.

I want to share a related story of a young man who died recently while doing what he loved. Darius Jones, a 15 year-old freshman at De La Salle High School, passed away on October 11 during a game of basketball. The cause of his death is still unknown but is believed to be related to a heart condition. Darius was a talented athlete, but more importantly he was known to be selfless and an inspiration to other kids through his actions off the court. As if this weren’t a rare enough trait among our youth, he was also prepared to serve God as Jesus explains in today’s gospel…

Darius, who’s father died when he was 10, would ask his mother for spare coins to keep in his pocket. He wanted this money to give to the homeless people he encountered on the street corners of his hometown, Pittsburg, CA. Young Darius would explain to his mother, “You know, that (person) could be Jesus.”

Wow! Here was a young man who truly prepared for the master’s return. He understood far better than most of us what Jesus taught… and he lived it.

Today, Darius’ funeral will be held at the First Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, right in the midst of the homeless he cared for. There is no doubt in my mind that as his memorial service is in full swing, young Darius Jones will be sitting courtside with Our Lord.

Room to Chat: Let us be ever vigilant and see the face of Jesus in those around us, just as Darius did.


Givers Win – Good News for October 19

19 10 2009

Luke 12:13-31

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”

Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’

But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”

The Daily Path: I’m no psychologist, but I know enough to understand that we go through several stages in our life. So many of us spend our youth driven to gather possessions. For some, the youthful “gatherer” stage is extended well beyond mid-life. You may have seen a popular bumper sticker that proclaims “Whoever dies with the most toys wins the game.” While still lost in my own youthful greed I have come to see that nothing could be further from the truth. Giving, not storing makes one a winner. Why am I always a late bloomer?

Room to Chat: Our Lord has blessed my mother with His healing grace. Yesterday, she returned home from hospital and is well on the road to recovery. Thank you all for your many prayers and acts of giving! I’ve been shown “the way of a giver” through your generosity and love.