Advent Day 10 – Good News for December 7

7 12 2010

Matthew 18: 12-14

Jesus said to his disciples, “What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.”

The Daily Path: Since his passing a few years ago, I have made it a point to remember my friend, Edward Buchner, every December 7. “Buddy” as his friends and family called him, survived the infamous Bataan Death March and imprisonment by Japanese military captors for the duration of World War II. To me, Buddy will always be a true hero. Not just for what he did some 70 years ago, but also in how he lived his life following the war. In my experience, he was not a boisterous man. He carried himself quietly allowing his actions to speak rather than a lot of words. I wish everyone could have had the chance to meet Buddy. You couldn’t help but be better for it. I know that God put him in my life for a reason.

We miss you, Buddy, but you’ll never be forgotten.





Courage in the Face of… Friends? – Good News for November 24

24 11 2010

Luke 21:12-19

Jesus said to the crowd, “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony.

Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute. You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”

The Daily Path: I’m reminded of something that I have touched on here in GNTG and among the fellowship of my men’s spirituality group. How often are we afraid to bring up our faith in the midst of those we consider to be “friends”, let alone people we interact with to a lesser degree?

Even some of my best friends would give me the eye roll and move quickly to a conversation transition. I accept this and would never hammer them with the evangelical thunder of a tent revivalist. (Actually, now that I think of it, that would kind of funny to see the look on their faces as I chase them around the room, out the door, and down the street, bellowing, “Hallelujah, brother! Don’t run from the LORD! Come back!” LOL)

My point here is that while we may never have to face physical pain or death for upholding our faith, perseverance is needed through other more common trials. Perhaps more painful than imprisonment is the isolation that might be caused for our willingness to openly give testimony to our faith and spiritual journey. This is where another of Christ’s promises comes into play: I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.





Ring! Ring! – Good News for January 25

25 01 2010

Acts of the Apostles 9:1-22

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.

On his  journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He said, “Who are you, sir?”

The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”

The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.”

The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, that he may regain his sight.”

But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.”

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”

So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus, and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. All who heard him were astounded and said, “Is not this the man who in Jerusalem ravaged those who call upon this name, and came here expressly to take them back in chains to the chief priests?” But Saul grew all the stronger and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus, proving that this is the Christ.

The Daily Path: The story of St. Paul’s journey to Damascus always leaves me marveling about how God goes about business. Time and again we read about how the most unlikely become his dedicated servants.

Perhaps overlooked amidst the awe of this account is the courage displayed by Ananias.

“Ring. Ring.”

“Hi, God. How’s the family? Glad to hear it. What can I do for you?”

“You want me to WHAT? Saul? THE Saul? The guy who’s running around killing people like ME? Boss, are you feeling okay today?”

“Alright, alright. I hear you. Just checking. I’ll do what you ask.”

“And, uh… you’re sure he’s on board with this instrument thing? Right. Okay. Mmm, hmm. Gotcha. I’ll head down to Straight Ave. right away and take care of the matter. I’ll call you when it’s taken care of. What’s that you say? Oh yeah, I guess I don’t need to call back. You’ll already know.”

I think we all have to display a little of that Ananias courage when living our faith. We may not get hauled off in chains if we express our beliefs and spirituality, but I’ve experienced times when I have kept my faith hidden so as to avoid “persecution” of those I would call friends and associates.

“What do you mean you can’t go to the game? Church? When did you become a holy roller?”

“A blog about being Catholic? Ooooh, you gonna preach to me?”

“Why is religion suddenly so important to you? It never mattered before!”

Perhaps picking up the phone when God calls is the easy part. The next step presents the biggest challenge. That’s when accessing a little of the radical grace inside of us becomes so important. The name I took at Confirmation was “Paul”. Perhaps I should have selected Ananias.

Room to Chat: Father, help me to always accept what you ask and have the courage to comply.





Courage – Good News for May 26

26 05 2009

John 17:1-11

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”

The Daily Path: Today, I’d like to share another reading with you today. It’s from the Acts of the Apostles 20:22-24:

But now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem. What will happen to me there I do not know, except that in one city after another the Holy Spirit has been warning me that imprisonment and hardships await me. Yet I consider life of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.

St. Paul knew that continuing to share the word of God meant walking in harm’s way, yet he did so anyway. What incredible courage. As you may know, Paul was ultimately arrested and after years of imprisonment was beheaded.

While reading this I couldn’t help but think about Paul’s contemporary, Peter, who on the night Jesus was arrested denied knowing Him three times. What a difference the Holy Spirit made in these men. 

I reflect on all of the occasions I deny Jesus. Sometimes I know that proclaiming my Catholic faith, or faith in God period, won’t be a popular thing to do. In those moments of fear, living in the world suddenly becomes more important than living in the Word. While I’d like to be more like Paul fearlessly proclaiming the Gospel of God’s grace, all too often I feel like Peter… before he had his shower in the Spirit.  

Christ revealed God to us. Perhaps we can find courage to live our lives in ways that will reveal the name of God to others.

A double dose of the Spirit please!

Room to Chat: Each day presents a new opportunity to demonstrate a little courage in living the Word of God. Be brave!