Deal Some Mercy – Good News for February 28

28 02 2009

John 7:40-53

Some in the crowd who heard these words of Jesus said, “This is truly the Prophet.” Others said, “This is the Christ.” But others said, “The Christ will not come from Galilee, will he? Does not Scripture say that the Christ will be of David’s family and come from Bethlehem, the village where David lived?”

So a division occurred in the crowd because of him. Some of them even wanted to arrest him, but no one laid hands on him. So the guards went to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, “Why did you not bring him?” The guards answered, “Never before has anyone spoken like this man.”

So the Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.” Nicodemus, one of their members who had come to him earlier, said to them,  “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him and finds out what he is doing?” They answered and said to him, “You are not from Galilee also, are you? Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” Then each went to his own house.

The Daily Path: Here’s a question for Lent. What can you offer up to God that will help someone else?

I don’t see how my giving up candy and ice cream does much to show love and mercy for another. In fact, the resulting downturn in confection sales might actually put someone out of work! Phew. Dodged that bullet.

Seriously though, a precious commodity in this society is our time. Giving up our time during lent to help someone in need seems to be a great way to prepare for the Resurrection of the King of Sacrifice. Find a way to share the burden of the cross that another carries.

Remember, it doesn’t take much. Don’t get caught up in a grand scheme that will never get off the ground. Keep it simple! Perhaps it’s only a minute to bend down and perform a random act of kindness. Consider ten minutes of prayer petitioning God to help someone you know. It can be an hour online researching non-profit aid organizations, while asking the Holy Spirit for inspiration on where you can make a difference. The point is to look for ways to give up your time in the service of someone who needs your help. 

Room to Chat: For the next 24 hours, open your eyes for one opportunity to help. Dealing love and mercy is cool!

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 

Good News on Jesus Birthday

25 12 2008

Luke 2: 15-20

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”

So they went in haste 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.

The Daily Path: On this day of celebration I pray that all who attend Mass will be deeply touched by Jesus and inspired by the Spirit to return again on Sunday. And the following Sunday. And the Sunday after that. And again. And again. 

A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.

Merry Christmas, my friends.

No Room At The Inn – Good News for December 24

24 12 2008

Luke 2:1-14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth  to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem,  because he was of the house and family of David,  to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them  and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.

The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy  that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David  a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you:  you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” 

The Daily Path: Last night my children and I were driving through Oakland heading to Alameda, the city where I grew up. We were on our way to pick up my parents and continue our decades old  family tradition of driving around town looking at the colorful lights and Christmas decorations. Freeway traffic was backed up so I took an alternate route through downtown Oakland. 

At a stop light I happened to glance over at the entrance of a city administration building near the police station. At the top of the stairs were two homeless people. One had climbed out of a wheel chair and was already in his sleeping bag. The other was preparing his own bed by wrapping himself in a blanket on this frosty night. 

“She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

As the hustle and bustle of Christmas went on all about them, there was no room at the inn for these two souls. I wondered what set of circumstances led them to their current situation. While I was feeling great joy in anticipation of our family Christmas tradition, these two could look forward to a cold night sleeping on concrete and the slim margin of safety this public manger offered. Thousands would drive by them this night. Would anyone give them a second thought? Where would the joy of Our Lord’s coming be for them?

I’d like to think that if I was a shepherd in the hills surrounding Bethlehem some two thousand years ago, I would have harkened the angels call and gone to the manger to praise the Baby Jesus. But on this night, two of God’s children lay in the cold, yet I continued tending my own flock. 

“And this will be a sign for you:  you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

My friends, on this holiest of nights in the Christian tradition, make room in your heart for all of God’s children. Lord, please keep them safe in your love and mercy.

Rushing – Good News for December 22

22 12 2008

Luke 1:46-56

Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior, for he has looked upon his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, and has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home.

The Daily Path: Last night the 11:00 p.m. news was full of stories about people in a hurry. People rushing to get to their holiday destination. The pundits rushing to criticize a clergyman. People rushing to finish their gift shopping. Rush. Rush. Rush.

Sadly, no one was shown rushing to embrace Advent and prepare for the true celebration. In this crazy, busy time of year how many of us are hurrying in search of the Baby Jesus? How many of us are straining for just a few extra minutes to draw close to God in the midst of all this rushing?  

Perhaps over these final few days we can all rush to take a deep breath… slow time in our minds eye… just for an instant. And in that moment listen for the sounds of His coming. Let’s find His peace among all the rushing.

Silent Night, Holy Night – Good News for December 4

4 12 2008

Father Joseph Mohr (1816)

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth 

The Daly Path: Good News comes in many forms. It’s in the earth around us. It’s in the great books of faith. It’s in our hearts. And from our hearts spring beautiful works of art that are inspired by the Spirit. In 1816, an Austrian priest by the name of Joseph Mohr created such a work when he penned the poem “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht” that became perhaps the most recognized Christmas carol of all time… Silent Night.

As I prepare for the coming of our Lord in this Advent season, these verses of Silent Night help me to reflect on that holiest of nights so many centuries ago. Just for fun, go outside one evening this Advent and sit for a few moments in the dark listening to the good news of the night. Breath in the crisp air (if you are in the northern hemisphere). Pretend it’s the first Christmas Eve and reflect on Fr. Mohr’s beautiful  poem of  Jesus… Lord at thy birth.

Advent Meditation: Blessed are all who wait for the Lord