Grip Of Iron – Good News for April 14

14 04 2009

John 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.”

When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”

Mary went and announced to the disciples,”I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he had told her.

The Daily Path: I can’t imagine a “good news” scenario better than this. More than one Hollywood screenwriter has tapped into the basic premise. Overwhelming sadness from loss turns to exultant joy in the return. Jesus even has to tell Mary to stop holding on to him. She must have employed the “I lost you once but this time you’re not getting away” grip of iron.

I lost Jesus just as many of my generation seemed to have done. My life was crying out over the loss in ways I didn’t understand. I couldn’t recognize Jesus. Now, miraculously, He has returned and I recognize Him. Mary demonstrates the same resolve I want to foster in my own life. I want an iron grip on the Christ… never to let go again.

Room to Chat: I can understand why Easter is a season. Following Holy Week with anything but more Easter would be too great a letdown. So… let’s “up” instead! As in keep up actively finding moments in the day to say “My Lord, thank you for the sacrifice you made for me.”





Observation Thursday – Good News for March 12

12 03 2009

Take a moment and allow yourself to see…

Luke 16:19-31

Jesus said to the Pharisees, “There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man’s table. Dogs even used to come and lick his sores. When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. 

The rich man also died and was buried, and from the netherworld, where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. And he cried out, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me. Send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am suffering torment in these flames.’ 

Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented. Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’

He said, ‘Then I beg you, father, send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they too come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets. Let them listen to them.’

He said, ‘Oh no, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ Then Abraham said, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead.'”

The Daily Path: I have received more than a fair share of what is good in this life. Countless blessings have come my way. Sadly, far too many have gone unappreciated.
Luke’s gospel provides pause to consider how many ways I could have provided for the family of Lazarus that even today long for the scraps of my table. As I think about the chasm I’ve dug for so many years, the gap that may ultimately separate me from Christ’s bounty, I wonder why I still don’t do more while I can. We tend to get stuck in the rut of believing this life will go one forever. It’s the culture of “I’ll do it tomorrow.” We think there’s always an endless reservoir of opportunities to start living acts of love and charity while on this earth. BUZZZZZZ! WRONG ANSWER!

I may be killed or fall over dead this very day. It might happen before I finish this blog entry. And if that happens, will I find myself looking across the chasm at those who I could have helped, even in the smallest way, yet chose not to? What am I, and so many like me, waiting for? 
Room to Chat: Today, as you go about your business, observe. Be on watch. Look for the family of Lazarus about you. Take a moment and allow yourself to see them. I think we’ll all be surprised on what we witness this day.




What’s My Line? – Good News for March 2

2 03 2009

The line on the left or the line on the right? 

Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’

And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’

Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’

He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The Daily Path: One thing I would like to improve during Lent is my ability to see the face of God in others around me. All too often I can only see another human form. Most of the time I’m so wrapped up in ME that I’m blind and deaf. Even so close to home as with my own wife and children. I don’t care to join that line on the left of God with all the other Me-Me-Me-Me sopranos.

Do you have five minutes today to just investigate where the line is forming to God’s right? If you believe in the God of Abraham, or even if you don’t, what harm is there in at least considering how to feed, cloth and comfort another who is desperately in need? It can be a one time only event. A mere peek at what’s going on.

Or you can say, “I’m in. I want to try this.”

The line on the right forms in countless ways. It’s next to the cardboard shanty you see everyday under an overpass. It’s as close as next to your best friend who needs a little help during a tough time. You can seek out the line forming through a formal organization like Catholic Charities or Doctors Without Borders or an inner city shelter. Or it’s with that little start-up, Me, Inc. that has been so busy investing in itself that it’s lost sight of God in the faces surrounding it. 

Will it be the line on the left or the line on the right? The choice is ours.

Room to Chat: Lord God, give me the courage to open my eyes today and see your face in the world around me. Allow me to open my heart and mind. Enable me to use my hands in the service of others.





Must Read Sunday – Good News for March 1

1 03 2009

Give me back the joy…

Psalms 51:3-4, 12-15

Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me.

A clean heart create for me, O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your Holy Spirit take not from me.

Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me. I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners shall return to you. 

Hebrews 5:7-9

In the days when Christ Jesus was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears  to the one who was able to save him from death,  and he was heard because of his reverence. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.

John 12:20-33

Some Greeks who had come to worship at the Passover Feast came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we would like to see Jesus. “Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus.

Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.

“I am troubled now. Yet what should I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But it was for this purpose that I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name.”

Then a voice came from heaven,  “I have glorified it and will glorify it again.” The crowd there heard it and said it was thunder;  but others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”

Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come for my sake but for yours. Now is the time of judgment on this world;  now the ruler of this world will be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” He said this indicating the kind of death he would die.

The Daily Path: I can hear ol’ Stan Doubtsall now… “See Marge? I was right! This sneaky guy is going to make us read volumes of Scripture. I don’t have time for that.”

I’m sorry, Stan. You’re correct. This IS more Good News than normal, but each one of these passages is so rich. I’ll make you a deal. If you will just read what is offered today I won’t say anything else. 

Room to Chat: CLOSED TODAY DUE TO PROMISE TO STAN





The Formula – Good News for February 6

6 02 2009

Hebrews 13:1

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.

Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body.

Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.

Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you.

Thus we may say with confidence: The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The Daily Path: Here’s another reminder of the simple way God asks us to live our life. Another roadmap to quickly reference and get our bearings straight. I’m glad that these keep popping up. It’s so easy for me to forget this basic formula while dealing with the world around. Earlier this week I talked about the discipline I need. Remembering love and mercy has to be part of my daily workout as I continue to build my strength on the journey home. One repetition. Then another. 

The playing field may change but these guidelines are a constant… just as Christ is always there for me and for all of us.

Room to Chat: Do you have 10 seconds somewhere in your day? Try this 10 second connection to God: The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?





Camels At Your Door – Good News for January 4

4 01 2009

Matthew 2:1-12

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.”

When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.

Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” 

After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way. 

The Daily Path: The magi visited me yesterday. No, I’m not crazy, nor did three kings on camels pull up on my front lawn. However, I did receive a timely gift for which I am most grateful. I’m sure it was the answer to so many prayers. One of my first responses was to say “thank you” to God. 

I think the magi are very active in our lives. God sends many blessings our way in the course of a day. Some are so small they barely register. Others are big. Often they are overlooked. We don’t have to prostrate ourselves immediately as the magi did. But when we are aware of the gifts given us, a simple “thanks” is always possible.

My friends, look for the star overhead in your own life and give thanks when you find God’s gifts to you. 

Room to Chat: Saying the Our Father when you first wake up is a great way to start the day.





Room To Chat? – Good News for January 1

1 01 2009

Luke 2:16-21

The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

The Daily Path: Today is the first day of our calendar year. 365 days from now I hope to look back on my life in 2009 and see that I have kept God close. It is also my hope that God will be pleased with what I have done.

Besides sharing the Good News of the Gospel through this daily blog, I also want to make short prayer a greater part of my life. I will say the prayer that Jesus gave us, known as the Our Father. It only takes a moment and I can do it anywhere at anytime.

Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed by 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. Amen
 

While I know God wants more from me than one prayer a day, perhaps using this prayer moment as a daily check-in with God will inspire me to do more. Will you join me in a daily conversation with Him? Even if you aren’t a Catholic or Christian, will you spend those few seconds in your own conversation with the Almighty? 

For the next 365 I will add a new component to Good News To-Go! known as Room to Chat. I hope it helps you to see where opportunities exist to check-in with God. Like the shepherds at Bethlehem, let’s find opportunities to witness the amazing. It only takes a moment in your busy day.

Room to Chat: I said an Our Father this morning while my computer was booting up. I could have said a lot more in that time! LOL