Spirit – Good News for January 16

16 01 2011

John 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. He is the one of whom I said, ‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me because he existed before me.’ I did not know him, but the reason why I came baptizing with water was that he might be made known to Israel.”

John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”





Pleasing – Good News for January 9

9 01 2011

Matthew 3:13-17

Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him.

After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

The Daily Path: Now that I am back working in the corporate world again, I am reminded how we strive so hard to meet our work goals and keep our boss happy. We put in lots of hours to do a good job. (Some put in twice as many hours in two jobs just to make ends meet or keep their families safe.) Like children who seek their parents approval, we workers also like to get positive feedback for a job well done.

What about with God?

The first half of life is all about achievement. Gathering. Securing our place. In that work we are so often busiest with eyes focused squarely on the prize of acquiring that all important stature on earth. In our charge up the hill of success, where is God? Are we as driven when it comes to our Father in heaven? Do we strive above all else to hear His voice? “This is my beloved child, with whom I am well pleased.”






Advent Day 8 – Good News for December 5

5 12 2010

Matthew 3:1-12

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said: A voice of one crying out in the desert, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.

John wore clothing made of camel’s hair and had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. At that time Jerusalem, all Judea,and the whole region around the Jordan were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins.

When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God can raise up children to Abraham from these stones. Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

The Daily Path: John the Baptist is an Advent Man. He’s preparing the populace for the coming of Jesus. This is exactly what we should be doing in these days before we celebrate the birth of Christ. Do yourself a favor. Trade in a frantic holiday moment for some peaceful reflection with God.





A Capitol Sunday – Good News for July 4

4 07 2010

Luke 10:1-9

At that time the Lord appointed seventy-two others whom he sent ahead of him in pairs to every town and place he intended to visit. He said to them, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest. Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way.

Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace to this household.’ If a peaceful person lives there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you. Stay in the same house and eat and drink what is offered to you, for the laborer deserves his payment. Do not move about from one house to another. Whatever town you enter and they welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.'”

The Daily Path: Peace be to your household this day. It’s Sunday, July 4th. Find time to open your heart to God. Maybe you’ll feel some fireworks of faith!

Here is an interesting tidbit for you on this Independence Day. It’s the story of a painting that resides in the rotunda of our nation’s Capitol.

The painting shown above depicts the ceremony in which Pocahontas, daughter of the influential Algonkian chief Powhatan, was baptized and given the name Rebecca in an Anglican church. It took place in 1613 or 1614 in the colony at Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement on the North American continent. Pocahontas is thought to be the earliest native convert to Christianity in the English colonies; this ceremony and her subsequent marriage to John Rolfe helped to establish peaceful relations between the colonists and the Tidewater tribes.

The figures of Pocahontas and the officiating minister are given prominence by their placement, their bright white clothing, and the light that shines upon them. Pocahontas kneels on the top level of a stepped dais, her head bowed and her hands clasped before her. Reverend Alexander Whiteaker raises his eyes and his left hand, while his right hand rests on the baptismal font. John Rolfe, Pocahontas’s future husband, stands behind her.

Other colonists and members of Pocahontas’s family look on, displaying a range of emotions. At the left of the painting, Sir Thomas Dale, deputy governor of the colony, has risen from his chair near the font to observe the event. Pocahontas’s regally dressed brother, Nantequaus, turns away from the ceremony as her uncle Opachisco leans in from the right. The seated, brooding figure of another uncle, Opechankanough, turns completely away from the ceremony while Pocahontas’s sister, with an infant, watches from the floor.

John Gadsby Chapman received the commission for the Rotunda painting in 1837 and selected Pocahontas as its subject. He may have chosen to paint her baptism because he had already (in 1836) completed a scene that showed her more widely depicted rescue of John Smith. Seeking to depict the scene of this ceremony accurately, Chapman traveled in England and America to examine objects and buildings from the early seventeenth century. Because theJamestown church had since been torn down, he based his setting on a church that he believed to be of similar age and incorporated features appropriate to the colony, such as the pine columns; many details were based on a written description by a Jamestown resident. Chapman created this painting in Washington, D.C., in the loft of a barn on G Street, N.W. His life during the time in which he worked on it was marked by great sadness and misfortune: his son died in February 1838, and two weeks later his daughter was born prematurely and survived only ten hours. He was also under mounting pressure from debts and worked quickly on the canvas to collect his payment; after completing it he noted in his day book that the money he received from the government for the painting was “barely equivalent to its cost” to him. The painting was delivered to the Capitol and installed in November 1840.

This painting has undergone various cleaning, repair, and restoration treatments. In 1925, it was relined because of the damage it suffered from currents of heated air rising from the floor registers. Finding a manufacturer in theUnited States to provide such a large canvas proved difficult, and the canvas was eventually ordered from a company in Brussels. In 1980 the painting was attached to an aluminum panel to help it resist the effects of changes in temperature and humidity. All of the Rotunda paintings were most recently surface cleaned in 2008.

An engraving of Chapman’s painting appeared on the reverse of the First Charter $20 National Bank Notes issued in 1863 and 1875.

John Gadsby Chapman was born on August 11, 1808, in Alexandria, Virginia. He received encouragement and instruction from history painter George Cooke and portraitist Charles Bird King, and he studied further inPhiladelphia. In 1828 he traveled to Italy to study the Old Masters, and in 1831 he returned to America to create landscapes and portraits, which he exhibited in Washington, D.C.; Richmond; and Philadelphia. He moved in 1834 to New York City, where he became a member of the National Academy of Design and illustrated books and magazines. He also began a series of history paintings depicting events in colonial-era America, and their success led to the commission for Baptism of Pocahontas, his best-known work. In 1850 he and his family settled in Rome, where he prospered by selling his works to American tourists. In the 1860s, however, the Civil War curtailed tourist travel; in the 1870s his wife died and he relied on fellow Americans for charity. His health failing, he returned to the United States in 1884 and lived with his son in Brooklyn. He died on November 28, 1889.





By What Authority? – Good News for May 29

29 05 2010

Mark 11:27-33

Jesus and his disciples returned once more to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple area, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders approached him and said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do them?”

Jesus said to them, “I shall ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin? Answer me.”

They discussed this among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?”– they feared the crowd, for they all thought John really was a prophet. So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.”

Then Jesus said to them, “Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

The Daily Path: To whom do you give authority in your life?





Feeling God – Good News for April 3

3 04 2009

I’m going to love myself today…

John 10:31-42

The Jews picked up rocks to stone Jesus. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of these are you trying to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God.”

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, You are gods”‘? If it calls them gods to whom the word of God came, and Scripture cannot be set aside, can you say that the one whom the Father has consecrated and sent into the world blasphemes because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?  If I do not perform my Father’s works, do not believe me; but if I perform them, even if you do not believe me, believe the works, so that you may realize and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” Then they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power.

He went back across the Jordan to the place where John first baptized, and there he remained. Many came to him and said, “John performed no sign, but everything John said about this man was true.” And many there began to believe in him.

The Daily Path: I’m going to love myself today. No, I’ve not declared today to be my personal vanity fair. I don’t plan to stand in front of the mirror to gaze in awe of the image that’s reflected back. Nor will I mail myself an autographed 8×10 photo of me with “101 Reasons Kin Is Amazing” printed on the back. But I am going to take a timeout from the go-go-go chaos of a busy life and reflect on the many good things I’ve been given and reasons to feel good about me.

It’s easy to feel beat up when rocks thrown by others hit us square in the head. But there are always reasons to feel good (God) about yourself and the life you’ve been given. Just sit yourself down and create a short list on paper or just in your head: 5 Reasons To Feel Good About Me. When you finish, think about your list. Consider these blessings and how they came about.  

If you take time to do this, but can’t come up with a list, send me a comment or an e-mail, because I’ll help you to find many more than five reasons to feel good (God) about yourself, and in doing so… love the person that God loves very much. 

Room to Chat: St. Michael the Archangel, watch over Michael today and every day. Keep him safe and out of harms way. (See Room to Chat: Come Out – Good News for March 29)





Do You Believe In Miracles? – Good News for February 2

2 02 2009

Luke 2:22-32

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. 

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”

The Daily Path: Yesterday, two parents followed the tradition of Mary and Joseph by presenting their children to the Lord. My wife Anne and I joined so many other parents who have asked God to welcome His children and hold them close through Baptism.

On this Feast of the Presentation, I want to thank God for making that possible. As recently as a year ago, I couldn’t have seen this day being so close. I’m grateful to all those who prayed that these children, and their parents, would set out on the path to God. Especially my own parents who presented me so many years ago and never stopped praying that I would return. And to all who have gone out of their way to welcome our family into the Catholic community and stand by us, I send my sincere and  heartfelt thanks. 

February 1, 2009 was the day that an entire family came together and was presented to the Lord. Do you believe in miracles?

Room to Chat: Find an opening in your day to let God talk to you. All He needs is the tiniest crack. Seconds you won’t miss, and can’t afford to miss.