Hanging On Every Word – Good News for November 19

19 11 2010

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: Imagine being at “An Evening with Jesus”. I’d be hanging on every word, too!

Room to Chat: Father, comfort the family of Richard and ease his pain.





Choice – Good News for August 19

19 08 2010

Matthew 22:1-14

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and the elders of the people in parables saying, “The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come.

A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.

Then the king said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence.

Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.”

The Daily Path: “Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business.”

Each day we are presented with a choice. Do we choose to be present at the feast or are we too busy with other things?





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?





Reconnecting – Good News for April 7

7 04 2010

Luke 24:13-35

That very day, the first day of the week, two of Jesus’ disciples were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?”

They stopped, looking downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, said to him in reply, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know of the things that have taken place there in these days?” And he replied to them, “What sort of things?”

They said to him, “The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, how our chief priests and rulers both handed him over to a sentence of death and crucified him. But we were hoping that he would be the one to redeem Israel; and besides all this, it is now the third day since this took place. Some women from our group, however, have astounded us: they were at the tomb early in the morning and did not find his Body; they came back and reported that they had indeed seen a vision of angels who announced that he was alive. Then some of those with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women had described, but him they did not see.”

And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures.

As they approached the village to which they were going, he gave the impression that he was going on farther. But they urged him, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. And it happened that, while he was with them at table, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he vanished from their sight.

Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”

So they set out at once and returned to Jerusalem where they found gathered together the Eleven and those with them who were saying, “The Lord has truly been raised and has appeared to Simon!” Then the two recounted what had taken place on the way and how he was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.

The Daily Path: This week we are reading about how Jesus is reconnecting with his friends and disciples following His Resurrection. The selected passages are exciting and full of joy. Who doesn’t like a happy ending?

As I reflect on these readings, it seems that each day we are presented with opportunities to reconnect with Christ in some way. It may be a big renewal, like after thirty years of separation, or perhaps a small one, say after three hours during which time He has not been centered in our heart. I have found it easy to get lonely when I don’t feel connected to God. This feeling of disconnection can also translate into fear. Yes, friends, I am needy, but I take comfort in knowing that we are all a needy bunch. I believe God likes it that way.

A good friend recently reminded me that during the times of crisis in our lives we have to place our worry with God… EVERY minute if need be. He’s correct. And while it’s good to run to the Father when we are hurting, I think we’d hurt less if we stay connected to Him all the time.

One of the other amazing things I have learned is that I often find Jesus walking towards me. Like the disciples in today’s Gospel from Luke, in some instances I don’t immediately recognize Him. Perhaps I’m too lost in momentary grief or too busy living in this world to see Him. But He is there. And He is always ready to reconnect with me, no matter if it’s thirty years or thirty seconds since we last embraced.





Full House – Good News for April 5

5 04 2010

Matthew 28:8-15

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce the news to his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them on their way and greeted them. They approached, embraced his feet, and did him homage.

Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

While they were going, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had happened. The chief priests assembled with the elders and took counsel; then they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, telling them, “You are to say, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him while we were asleep.’ And if this gets to the ears of the governor, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” The soldiers took the money and did as they were instructed.

And this story has circulated among the Jews to the present day.

The Daily Path: Two things leap off the virtual page for me today…

First, we find Mary and Mary hurrying back to town with the good news. They are both excited and afraid. But who meets them along the way? Jesus.

AND, once again, Jesus shares one of His key messages: “Do not be afraid.”

This has been my experience, too. So often Jesus meets me as I scurry about on this road called living. Sometimes it’s when I’m excited and feeling joyful. Other times He finds me when I’m feeling low and fearful. And in both circumstances He offers the same words. “Do not be afraid.”

In Joyful moments it’s: Don’t be afraid to proclaim Me.

In Fearful times it’s: Don’t be afraid, you’ll get through this because I’m at your side.

Yesterday, I was stunned at how many people were in attendance at the 9:00 am Easter Sunday Mass here in my parish. I’m well aware that many Christians only go to church on Christmas and Easter. Even with that understanding, I was stunned to find EVERY nook and cranny filled with people. It was standing room only. Even the infant room was jammed full.

Not only was St. Monica’s packed, there was a noticeable sense of joy in the air. Smiles were on the faces of strangers and friends alike. Even some people who are ordinarily a little rigid had a warm glow about them. As I took this phenomenon in, I couldn’t help but think of what it would be like if our faith community came together in these numbers more often, perhaps even most Sundays.

Why are so many still afraid to open their minds and hearts?

I know Jesus met many along the road yesterday. For some it was the first time. I hope the spark of excitement they experienced will remain with them today. I’m also hopeful that their fears will be overcome by God’s love so they can take up with us on the journey home.

“Do not be afraid.”





Mary or the Iscariot? – Good News for March 29

29 03 2010

John 12:1-11

Six days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. They gave a dinner for him there, and Martha served, while Lazarus was one of those reclining at table with him. Mary took a liter of costly perfumed oil made from genuine aromatic nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and dried them with her hair; the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.

Then Judas the Iscariot, one of his disciples, and the one who would betray him, said,
“Why was this oil not sold for three hundred days’ wages and given to the poor?” He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions.

So Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.”

The large crowd of the Jews found out that he was there and came, not only because of him, but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him.

The Daily Path: Who will we choose to emulate today? Mary or Judas?

Church by Jonathan Burstein





Hear Him Out – Good News for March 20

20 03 2010

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: This passage hit me like a 400 lb. defensive end – translation for those of you who don’t follow sports: to be run over by a freight train. The words of Nicodemus ring out with such clarity. There are many times I have judged an individual or situation before knowing the truth. Perhaps I have jumped on the bandwagon of “popular belief” without having any experience in the truth.

What is even more hard hitting to me is that Nicodemus question doesn’t just pertain to condemnation of an accused. I would say that the question applies to so much more.

The other day I wrote about the ability to touch the wounds of Christ. The desire to embrace the leper. How can we choose to stand by as so many around us suffer when we have NO TRUE CONCEPT of what it is like to walk in their shoes? Yesterday, I waited at a stop light in downtown Oakland. A homeless woman walked slowly through the intersection. There was a time in my life when I would have become very impatient with her to get out of the way so I could proceed on my way. But this time, I looked into her eyes and saw an experience I could not begin to understand at any real depth. This moment was not about judgment – it was about opening my mind and wanting to understand. I wanted to hear her out.

Is it not also true about the faith journey? Why would I condemn Islam when I know little of it? Do I chose to hate millions because of the acts of a few? Why do so many hate Catholics when they know nothing of us? Or Jews? Or Buddhists? Or the local plumbers union for that matter. I could go on and on, but the point is that Nicodemus asks us to be mindful of experiencing the truth before we rush to judgement. Oh, my… this is a question for the ages.

Hear Him out… whoever and whatever “him” might be.