Hanging – Good News for November 20

20 11 2009

Luke 19:45-48

Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” And every day he was teaching in the temple area.

The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words.

The Daily Path: What an ideal way to go through life… hanging on every word that Christ offers us.

(NOTE: I must apologize for my inability to post anything over the past week. A minor injury to my lower leg developed into a serious infection preventing me from spending any time at my desk. It’s getting better!)

Room to Chat: Father, please hold close Richard, your child and faithful servant, as he fights the cancer that has entered his body.

The Day – Good News for November 13

13 11 2009

Luke 17:26-27

Jesus said to his disciples, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be in the days of the Son of Man; they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage up to the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.

Similarly, as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building; on the day when Lot left Sodom, fire and brimstone rained from the sky to destroy them all. So it will be on the day the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, someone who is on the housetop and whose belongings are in the house must not go down to get them, and likewise one in the field must not return to what was left behind. Remember the wife of Lot.

Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. I tell you, on that night there will be two people in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. And there will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken, the other left.”

They said to him in reply, “Where, Lord?”

He said to them, “Where the body is, there also the vultures will gather.”


Kingdom Come – Good News for November 12

12 11 2009

Luke 17:20-25

Asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, Jesus said in reply, “The coming of the Kingdom of God cannot be observed, and no one will announce, ‘Look, here it is,’ or, ‘There it is.’ For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”

Then he said to his disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, but you will not see it. There will be those who will say to you, ‘Look, there he is,’ or ‘Look, here he is.’ Do not go off, do not run in pursuit. For just as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.”

The Daily Path: My oldest son is on a journey to the Holy Land with his grandfather. Yesterday, they walked the shore along the Sea of Galilee and witnessed a magnificent sunrise… just as the disciples of Christ witnessed your Son rise some two thousand years ago.

My Horn of Plenty: Father, thank you for the blessings of my son and his grandfather, who is sharing his abundance and unconditional love with his grandson.


Saving Faith – Good News for November 11

11 11 2009

Luke 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee. As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him. They stood at a distance from him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!” And when he saw them, he said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.” As they were going they were cleansed.

And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?  Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

The Daily Path: Ten men were healed, but only one gave thanks.

How often have I become so “comfortable” in my current condition that it’s difficult for me to see change? As I continue to focus and reflect on the abundance God has provided, it seems that I have acted more like the nine than the one. Have I truly recognized his redemption and returned to give thanks to God? Or have I been so busy “showing myself” that all too often I forget the source of all that I have been blessed with.

Room to Chat: Father, you alone have returned my sight. Help me to always see You, the one true source of abundance. Thank you!


Two Cents Worth – Good News for November 9

9 11 2009

Yesterday’s gospel reading is worthy of repeating…

Mark 12:38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said to the crowds, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”

The Daily Path: Have you read about the 97-year old homeless woman in Southern California who lives in a SUV with her two sons? Each night she sleeps in the front seat of their Suburban. I recently attempted to do the same and it was one of the most uncomfortable, sleepless nights I have ever experienced. I can’t imagine having to do it every night… or at her age. She and her sons live on government subsidies and whatever they can gather begging on the streets. They are trying to find Section 8 housing where they can all live together, however, guidelines for subsidized housing make that difficult.

Joseph found refuge for his pregnant wife Mary in a stable. Our Lord was born in the most unsavory of conditions, yet we have no record of any discontent. The family of three had a roof over their heads for the night and was together.

As I reflect on these two examples, and the gospel, I’m again reminded that there is only ONE plan. And the only road home leads through complete trust in God and unconditional surrender to Him. It’s not easy. I keep trying and trying, only to trip again and again. But it wasn’t easy for a widow who offered up the only money she had in the world, nor is it easy for an old woman that spends each night cramped in the front seat of the vehicle that she calls home.

Room to Chat: Lord, I am not worthy, but teach me to accept your plan and always see the abundance you provide in my life.


Master of Light – Good News for November 7

7 11 2009

Luke 16:9-15

Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours?

No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all these things and sneered at him. And he said to them, “You justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.”

The Daily Path: Here is a reflection that I’d like to share from Fr. Richard Rohr’s book Hope Against Darkness.

“There is a darkness that we are all led into by our own stupidity, by our own selfishness, blindness, or by just living out of the false self. And there is a darkness that I believe God leads us through for our own enlightenment. In both cases, we have to walk through these dark periods by brutal honesty, confessions, surrenders, letting go, forgiveness, and often by some necessary restitution, apology or healing ritual. I still hear of Vietnam vets who feel they must go back to Vietnam and help some Vietnamese children to be healed.

Different vocabularies would have called these acts of repentance, penance, mortification, dying to self, or ego stripping. By any account it is major surgery and surely feels like dying (although it also feels like immense liberation). We need help and comfort during these times. We must let ourselves be led by God and also by others. But how can we know the light if we’ve never walked through the darkness?”

My Horn of Plenty: Having a plateful of anxiety isn’t something that I would have thought to include on my list of bountiful gifts, but perhaps it should be. As Richard Rohr shares, how can I ever know the true light without experiencing the darkness. Perhaps seeing this side of my abundance is another step towards emerging on the other side of darkness, cleansed in the light.

Room to Chat: Merciful Father, lead me through the darkness to Your light.


What Shall I Do? – Good News for November 6

6 11 2009

Luke 16:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’

The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’

He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’

Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’

And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently. For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light.”

The Daily Path: During these difficult days, many are asking themselves “What shall I do, now?” I know, because I’ve heard the question veiled behind the words used by my neighbors to describe their current situations and worries. I also know because I’m one of them.

Like the steward in Jesus’ parable, I’ve somehow lost the confidence and expertise I once possessed that enabled me “to dig”. Although this sudden handicap has terrified me no end, I also recognize that this is “the Masters” doing. God has shaken me up for reasons I can’t fully understand; yet I believe that there is a plan in all of this… God’s plan. Perhaps the skills I once used to dig aren’t the ones that God wants me to use now.

Earlier this week while I should have been savoring a wonderful experience with good friends, their company actually had me feeling very low as I reflected on the success I once enjoyed working with them (and now see that in some ways I had unwisely taken for granted). Yes, dear friends, I’m ashamed to say that in the midst of one the most spectacular places on earth, I was having a little pity party. Yet in those low moments I was also blessed with the sudden ability to vividly see and actually feel the magnificence of what God has created around us. These seemingly conflicting moments proved a reminder that all things are possible for God. If I am a child of God then I am also in His plan and an integral part of this abundant magnificence that surrounds us.

I may not be able to use the shovel in my hands to dig the way I once did, but that is only because I’m still looking at it the same way I always have. Like the steward, I must adjust my outlook on what is before me. And in doing so, see how God now intends for me to dig.

Room to Chat: Abba, all things are possible for you. Help me, and so many others like me, to see the way ahead. Guide our hands in re-learning how to use the tools you have given us.