Loving First – Good News for October 11

11 10 2009

Mark 10:17-27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.”

He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” At that statement his face fell,and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”

The Daily Path: There are other teachings in this passage, but one that leaps of the page for me is this: “Jesus, looking at him, loved him…” Here’s yet another human who is so attached to his possessions that even when the Savior himself invites the man give these things up him and follow Him… the man can’t. But even in the moment of human failing Jesus still loves him!

Imagine walking into your boss and having him explain the exact process through which you will succeed. But you shake your head, say “No, I can’t do that”, and walk out.” 99.99% of the time, this person is NOT going to love you. But Jesus overlooked this shortfall and loved the man anyway. WOW! Another example of Christ’s perfect love for us, no matter how we fail every day.

Room to Chat: Friends, I have missed a few days with you. On Thursday past, my mom (Claire) was rushed to hospital with what was believed to be a heart episode. It turns out she has blood clots in her lungs that were causing symptoms very similar to a heart attack. She is undergoing treatment from a fine medical staff who are taking every precaution due to complications related to the four tumors that exist in her head. Prayers have been flowing in from an amazing network of friends and family from around the country.

On the night she was to receive The Fr. Damien Award for a life of service to her parish, she was in a hospital bed. She has never been one to savor the limelight, instead choosing to work quietly behind the scenes. In fact, it was reluctantly that she even agreed to accept this year’s award. She’s touched many lives over the years. Never saying no to someone who needed a shoulder to help them bear their burden. Today, the Catholic Church will canonize Fr. Damien as a Saint. Damien did not run away from the lepers he ministered, instead he embraced them. Mom never ran away from anyone in need, from her family to those in the parish and beyond. In my mind, she is very worthy of the honor.

Please keep Mom in your thoughts and in your prayers, ask Our Lord for her healing. Thank you!


Daily Bread – Good News for October 7

7 10 2009

Luke 11:1-4

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”

He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.”

The Daily Path: Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of my “career” as a blogger. However, I prefer to look back at October 6, 2008, as the day I made a conscious effort to begin each day with God. I’ve already commented on how starting the day by reading the Gospel and reflecting on its meaning has had miraculous results for me.

I have been blessed with incredible and radical grace during this year. The Holy Spirit has inspired me to write things that were once impossible for me to even imagine, let alone put to words. My morning’s with Christ have been a time for great personal healing, as so often my anger has been transformed into peace and compassion. This time has also bolstered my faith and provided courage during a period when I have been so afraid. It has been my daily bread.

Thank you for being part of my journey.

Room to Chat: Father in heaven, hallowed is your name. Thank you for the grace and blessings you have bestowed on me each morning over the past year. Help me to continue hearing your voice and seeing your hand in all things. Thank you for the new friends you have brought into my life and the opportunities to share my journey home with so many. Bestow your love on each of them just as you have touched me.


Be Still – Good News for October 6

6 10 2009

Luke 10:38-42

Jesus entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary who sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.

Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”

The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

The Daily Path: This is one of my favorite passages because it’s a snapshot of our busy lives. We are a busy people. Like ants going about their relentless duty, we often become mindless androids so entrenched in the tasks that we forget about our purpose. We concern ourselves with accomplishments. We strive to achieve status.

I’m no different. For every sixty ticks of the clock, how many do I dedicate to living a life that will be pleasing to the Father? How many minutes will I stop and appreciate His hand in the world that surrounds me? Very few in the scheme of things.

I need to be still and listen at His feet.

Room to Chat: Lord, help me to slow down, be still, and choose the better part of living a life that is pleasing to You.


Doing Likewise – Good News for October 5

5 10 2009

Luke 10:25-37

There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test Jesus and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”

He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He (Jesus) replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus,  “And who is my neighbor?”

Jesus replied,  “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side.

But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him.

The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, ‘Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.’ Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?”

He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”

The Daily Path: I’d like to think that if I came across someone who was seriously wounded by the side of the road that I would stop and provide assistance just as the Samaritan did. Many of us would. Where I live, the opportunity to experience this kind of occurrence is limited. There just aren’t many bloodied neighbors on the side of the road.

However, there are many wounded neighbors. People in serious need of help. They aren’t bleeding on the outside, but their spirit is hemorrhaging on the inside. Perhaps they are out of work. I know all too well the anxiety and despair this can bring. How will I provide new shoes to my children so they don’t have to wear pairs with holes big enough that their toes pop out? Will we have enough money for food after we pay all the bills? Will I have to go without my medication or dentist visit so that we can pay the property tax and keep our home?

Of course, in this society we rarely allow our wounds to show. We keep up the pretense that everything is fine… even though our world is crashing down around us. No, my friends, we can’t sit back and expect to find bodies on the side of the road in the literal sense. We won’t have many chances to bind the bloody wounds of our neighbor as a means of inheriting eternal life. But we have many opportunities to extend mercy. Simple acts of charity and kindness that seem of little value in the bigger scheme of things, but are priceless to someone in need.

That “extra” casserole you whipped up may be a week’s meal to someone else. The gift certificate you “won” in the raffle might provide shoes for a family that’s too proud to let the wounds show. “Can’t possibly use all of this” product in the Costco jumbo pack? Perhaps you can put your expertise to work helping tutor a child struggling with math who’s parents can’t afford to send them to Sylvan Learning, Score, or Kum0n for after school classes. Maybe it’s just a cup of coffee to listen and lend moral support to someone out of work. You get the idea.

The Christ who offers eternal life asks each of us to really look for our wounded neighbors and the bleeding that isn’t obvious. To make the small efforts. To open our hearts in places where a little light will make a huge difference towards ending the darkness.

Room to Chat: Father, help me to see my neighbor’s wounds. Give me the strength to act where I’m needed most.


Vision Restoration – Good News for October 3

3 10 2009

Luke 10:17-24

The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

The Daily Path: As I read this morning’s gospel it caused me to consider how fortunate I am that God reached out to restore my sight. It’s not that I was deserving. In fact, I was probably at the end of the deserving line. “Now serving number 4,567,392,228. Please have your vision restoration voucher ready.” No, I wasn’t worthy, but I was in dire need to see God in my life again.

Jesus told his disciples that many do not see and hear what they do. I’m probably at the back of the disciple trainee line, too, but I have been allowed a glimpse of God’s hand in all things. There are many around me that don’t see it. I wish they could because the ability to see God in my life has helped me no end. I have a long, long way yet to go, but I know I’ll get there because I’ve been allowed to see the way.

Room to Chat: Lord, many of your children will bear heavy burdens today. Keith’s family will remember the man who was father and husband until living became to great a challenge for him. Give them a glimpse of your peace and let their healing continue. I believe that You are a forgiving Father and Keith will be welcomed home again by You.

Others, will deal with tremendous anxiety over their ability to keep a roof over their family and food on the table. I believe you will provide all that is needed in our lives. Allow the Spirit within us to provide comfort and the strength to carry on during these difficult times. Restore our vision so that we can see your hand in the circumstances that surround us. And in doing so, let us also find your peace.


Who Is Greatest? – Good News for October 2

2 10 2009

Matthew 18:1-5, 10

The disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?”

He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me.”

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”

The Daily Path: Who is the greatest? It feels as if the pursuit of being the greatest is all we try to accomplish in this society of ours. But society’s definition of greatest is not the same as the one Jesus shared that day.

Room to Chat: Join me for a moment reflecting on our pursuit of “greatness”. Let’s be honest with ourselves.