Giving Up – Good News for May 25

25 05 2010

Mark 10:28-31

Peter began to say to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.”

Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

The Daily Path: I have been blessed with the company of many fellow travelers on my spiritual journey home. A good number of them are right here in my parish comprised of two spirituality groups I participate in. We gather together on a regular basis to openly share what we are experiencing along the way. Some of our discussion focuses on the challenges we all face in living the teaching of Christ and following his example.

Some of the most poignant moments in our gatherings relate to “giving up” the false self to embrace or enable the true self. We live in a fairly affluent area and are surrounded by the trappings of wealth and material success. With that comes some heavy baggage and pressure to uphold a certain image. Despite outward appearances many in this community are deeply wounded inside. Part of the fellowship the men in our spirituality groups share is based on allowing ourselves to give up the facade and expose our wounds to each other. I believe this is also part of what Jesus is explaining to us in today’s Gospel when he talks about giving up.

Yesterday, when I chose to openly share with GNTG readers the fact that I suffer from a disease, I was giving up the pretense of invulnerability. By giving up the lie – that I was in control – I was freed from a great burden. I started to feel lighter as I accepted my weakness and saw how others accepted my woundedness. I grew stronger as I received amazing signs of support throughout the day. The death of one thing brought new life to something else. My story is just one tiny example of how “giving up” the false self brings us closer to the one truth – God.

As Christians we uphold the ultimate symbol of woundedness – Jesus on the cross. After his death, when Jesus returned to his friends, did he say “Hey, look at me! I’m the almighty Son of God who can overcome everything, including death!”?

No.

The first thing Jesus did was to draw them close, open his robe and reveal his wounds.

Giving up draws us closer.

Room to Chat: Father, thank you for inspiring so many to live your commandment of love. The outpouring of genuine support I’ve experienced in the past week has been nothing short of miraculous. Though sometimes we walk in valley of the shadow, we are never alone. Truly, all things are possible through you.





Seeing and Believing – Good News for April 11

11 04 2010

John 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.

Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”

And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”

Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

The Daily Path: Have I seen Jesus? Yes. I’ve seen Him in the acts of many who model Christ’s teaching. I have witnessed Him standing with the needy. He has revealed himself to me in forgiveness.

Do I believe? Absolutely. He touched my wounds so that I could believe.

Will you go and look for Him today?





Behind Locked Doors – Good News for July 3

3 07 2009

John 20:24-29

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”

But Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 

Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” 

Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

The Daily Path: How many times have I locked the door to Jesus? Yet, how many times has Christ still come to me?

Room to Chat: Lord, grant me your peace… even though I often disappoint you and am unworthy to receive it. You are my Lord and my God.





The Show Me State – Good News for May 9

9 05 2009

John 14:7-14

Jesus said to his disciples, “If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” 

Philip said to Jesus, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. 

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

The Daily Path: Let me go on record by stating that the Bible is wrong! Yes, that’s correct. I said it.

Why?

Based on the selected passages of the past two days it is clear that the Apostles could not have been from the Asia Minor. They must have been from Missouri, also known as the Show Me State. First it was Doubting Thomas and now it’s Perplexed Philip. All these two can ever say is, “Show me. Show me. Show me.”

Hmmm… Come to think of it… I can be just as bad when failing to trust that all things are in His hands. Oh no! I’m from Missouri, too.

Poor Jesus. 

Room to Chat: Today, let’s give Jesus a break and focus on believing.





Am I Lost? – Good News for May 8

8 05 2009

John 14:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.” 

Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The Daily Path: Recently, a good friend of mine shared some of the worries and struggles being faced along the path. Like so many of us who from time to time feel like the weight of the world is on our shoulders, my friend needed a little reassurance and a reminder that we don’t walk alone.

In today’s Gospel, our old friend Doubting Thomas (surely a relative of  Stan Doubtsall) reveals his latest anxiety to Jesus. Thomas shares what all of us are feeling… uncertainty of where we are headed. And Jesus responds with the answer and reassurance: “Don’t worry, Tom. You do know the way home. You know me. I’m the way. You’ve walked alongside me for several years now and I showed you the way home. Remember what I taught you. Tom, don’t let your heart be troubled… trust in me and I’ll be with alongside. You DO know the way home. ”

Seems to me that if we allow ourselves to hear the Good News and open our hearts to the truth that Jesus taught us, then we never walk alone. We will get home.

Room to Chat: Hold out your hand to someone you encounter that’s struggling along the path.





No Doubt – Good News for April 19

19 04 2009

John 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.

The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

The Daily Path: I was hard pressed and was falling, but the Lord helped me. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior. 

Imagine… my story was written in Scripture long, long ago. (Psalms 118:13-15) How can I doubt His mercy?

Room to Chat: Let those who fear the Lord say, “His mercy endures forever.