Mountain Scene – Good News for February 28

28 02 2010

Luke 9:28-36

Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem.

Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said,  “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.”

After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.

The Daily Path: Today is Sunday! Where will you see God?

Perfect Love – Good News for February 27

27 02 2010

Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples, “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brothers and sisters only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Reconciliation – Good News for February 26

26 02 2010

Matthew 5:20-26

Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees,
you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, Raqa, will be answerable to the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ will be liable to fiery Gehenna. Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar, and there recall that your brother has anything against you, leave your gift there at the altar, go first and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court. Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge, and the judge will hand you over to the guard, and you will be thrown into prison. Amen, I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

The Daily Path: This is not an easy one to follow. There are some in my life who I continue to struggle with. I choose to ignore these people, but that isn’t what is being asked of me. Even with Jesus’ words right there staring me in the face… reconciliation is not yet in my heart.

Open Door Policy – Good News for February 25

25 02 2010

Matthew 7:7-12

Jesus said to his disciples, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”

Refreshing – Good News for February 23

24 02 2010

Psalms 23:1-3, 4, 5, 6

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose. Beside restful waters he leads me. He refreshes my soul.

Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil, for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage.

You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows.

Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.

The Daily Path: Dwell in His house with this “classic” from Psalms. Feel the peace.

The Prayer Sprinter – Good News for February 23

23 02 2010

Matthew 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples, “In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray…

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

“If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

The Daily Path: Growing up Catholic and attending parochial school left me with some lasting perspectives. Broadway comedies have made a fortune recounting similar perspectives from a period when the system created “good little Catholics” by the thousands. The system had a lot of flaws and those days still bring a chuckle, or ten. They also provide common ground for conversation with many who left the Church but now, later in life, find themselves back on the spiritual journey. In these conversations I often find the question being asked most often is: “What were they thinking?”

I’ll share some of my memories of GUC (growing up Catholic) over time. Perhaps these reflections will provide travelers with food for thought as they pause here at the on-line rest stop. One of my GUC experiences related to prayer…

The good sisters would provide us with ample opportunities to memorize all the formal prayers that were part of being Catholic. We would repeat these words time and again during many hours engaged in “solemn prayer” activities. During my training in the art of prayer, I became highly proficient at sprint praying, a skill I found very useful for enduring the rigors of being a kid in a very Catholic sphere.

When I’d go to confession (to have the truly heinous sins of an eight-year old forgiven) the priest would tell me to say five “Our Fathers” and five “Hail Mary’s” for my penance. Once that gun sounded I was off to the finish line saying the words as fast as humanly possible. I was a world class pray-er in this regard. I never really stopped pumping my arms and legs long enough to listen to the sounds coming out of my mouth or understand what was blasting down the linear excelerator of my mind. Praying the “Our Father” became the binaural beat of a mantra taking me around the track to Olympic gold! Get it done, climb the podium, and get on with living.

A great number of Olympiads have come and gone since my days as a prayer sprinter. I’ve evolved into more of a long distance runner. Now I try to embrace every word slowly and carefully. I want to “hear” the words in my heart. Once they are inside, I want their meaning to linger. Sometimes I change the words of formal prayers, like the Lord’s Prayer, that were committed to my young sprinter memory decades ago. In doing so I feel the conversation moving out of my head and into my heart where I know God will hear.