Peace Be With Us – Good News for April 8

8 04 2010

Luke 24:35-48

The disciples of Jesus recounted what had taken place along the way, and how they had come to recognize him in the breaking of bread. While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.”

And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.

He said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures. And he said to them, “Thus it is written that the Christ would suffer and rise from the dead on the third day and that repentance, for the forgiveness of sins, would be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

The Daily Path: I’d like to hold up two important takeaways from today’s Gospel for quiet reflection.

Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?”

and

he stood in their midst and said to them,“Peace be with you.”

(A note to my friend Stan Doubtsall: “Quiet reflection” means I won’t be commenting, but ask you to join me in thinking about what Jesus says in these passages. Hang in there, Stan. We’re in this together.)





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.”





Run – Good News for April 3

3 04 2010

Luke 24:1-12

At daybreak on the first day of the week the women who had come from Galilee with Jesus took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

While they were puzzling over this, behold, two men in dazzling garments appeared to them. They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. They said to them, “Why do you seek the living one among the dead? He is not here, but he has been raised. Remember what he said to you while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners and be crucified, and rise on the third day.” And they remembered his words.

Then they returned from the tomb and announced all these things to the eleven and to all the others. The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; the others who accompanied them also told this to the apostles, but their story seemed like nonsense and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb, bent down, and saw the burial cloths alone; then he went home amazed at what had happened.

The Daily Path: I love Peter. He’s always Mr. First Responder. He jumps out of the boat and attempts to walk on water toward Jesus. When the temple guards come to take Jesus away, he draws his sword to take them all on and protect his friend. Now we learn that he runs to find his beloved Master who the day before died on the cross and is now missing from the tomb.

In so many ways, Peter is the poster boy for our human shortcomings. Yes, there were times when Jesus would call out Simon Peter and scold him, but you know in his heart Jesus loved Peter’s fervor and willingness to follow. Peter was so genuine in his love for Jesus. He didn’t just walk to the Christ, he RAN!

Room to Chat: Father, open our hearts so that we may begin to roll back the stone of our own tombs, and, like Peter, run to your Son.





Grip Of Iron – Good News for April 14

14 04 2009

John 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.”

When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”

Mary went and announced to the disciples,”I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he had told her.

The Daily Path: I can’t imagine a “good news” scenario better than this. More than one Hollywood screenwriter has tapped into the basic premise. Overwhelming sadness from loss turns to exultant joy in the return. Jesus even has to tell Mary to stop holding on to him. She must have employed the “I lost you once but this time you’re not getting away” grip of iron.

I lost Jesus just as many of my generation seemed to have done. My life was crying out over the loss in ways I didn’t understand. I couldn’t recognize Jesus. Now, miraculously, He has returned and I recognize Him. Mary demonstrates the same resolve I want to foster in my own life. I want an iron grip on the Christ… never to let go again.

Room to Chat: I can understand why Easter is a season. Following Holy Week with anything but more Easter would be too great a letdown. So… let’s “up” instead! As in keep up actively finding moments in the day to say “My Lord, thank you for the sacrifice you made for me.”





Daily Christ – Good News for April 8

8 04 2009

Matthew 26:14-25

One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” They paid him thirty pieces of silver, and from that time on he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” He said, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The teacher says, My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.'”The disciples then did as Jesus had ordered, and prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he reclined at table with the Twelve. And while they were eating, he said, “Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” He said in reply, “He who has dipped his hand into the dish with me is the one who will betray me. The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born.”

Then Judas, his betrayer, said in reply, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” He answered, “You have said so.”

The Daily Path: I also want to share today’s First Reading from Isaiah (50:4-9)…

The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them. Morning after morning he opens my ear that I may hear; And I have not rebelled, have not turned back. I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; My face I did not shield from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame. He is near who upholds my right; if anyone wishes to oppose me, let us appear together. Who disputes my right? Let him confront me. See, the Lord GOD is my help; who will prove me wrong?

Since I began Good News To-Go!, it has been my daily experience that God does indeed open my ear that I may hear. He’s done this morning after morning after morning after morning. Starting my day with Christ has made a remarkable difference in me. As stated previously, I’ve never before felt the sense of peace that I do now. As I told someone the other evening, I used to wake up every night filled with anxiety and in many cases anger. This poisoned my day and caused me to act in ways that were contrary to what is good (God) for me and my family. This simple shift in my daily routine has allowed Our Lord to help change all that.

I still get anxious because I’m human and life is hard, but now I have the ability to turn that worry over to God. There are still moments when I feel the rush to anger, but it no longer has a grip on me because somehow in the moment God opens my ears to what is happening. Beginning the day with God and keeping Christ close throughout has also instilled unwavering resolve to continue my spiritual journey home. It also provides courage to expose my vulnerability to others without fear of disgrace.

Having my “daily Christ” is good news, indeed! 

Room to Chat: As we pray for Michael over the remaining days until Easter, let’s also remember his family. Being a parent requires tremendous strength, courage and love even in the best of times. Lord, please continue to stand with Michael’s parents and family. Bolster their resolve to support Michael and grant them peace, unity and wisdom as they continue along their own journey. (See Room to Chat: Come Out – Good News for March 29)





Be Greedy This Lent – Good News for February 24

24 02 2009

Mark 9:30-37

Jesus and his disciples left from there and began a journey through Galilee, but he did not wish anyone to know about it. He was teaching his disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men  and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise.” But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.

They came to Capernaum and, once inside the house, he began to ask them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they remained silent. For they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest. 

Then he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.”

Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.”

The Daily Path: I’m going to be greedy this Lent. (“Martha, I knew this guy is whacko. We’re not reading his blog anymore.”) Sure, what I propose sounds contrary to what many of us have practiced over the years. As a boy, I was taught to give things up during Lent, not seek more. Before you refresh your browser and move to a new blog, I want to share why, starting tomorrow, I’ll pursue more for the next forty days.

The dictionary provides the definition of greed as: an eager desire or longing. This is the key to a Lenten practice that played a role in my full return to God. This practice was suggested to me, and countless others, by Sister Ann Shields, the radio host of Food For The Journey. It calls for a very simple effort. And it’s also the foundation for how I ultimately became a blogger. Here it is: 

During Lent, seek God as much and as often as you can. Have a longing to bring Jesus into your day every chance you get. Foster an eager desire for more conversations with Him. Make more time to think about Christ. 

One year ago, as Sister Ann suggested, I started to remind myself of God’s presence at various points throughout the day. I looked to the regular interruptions of life to act as my cue. When I hit a red light I’d try to think of Jesus. After hanging up the phone I’d say a little prayer. Whenever I saw a church steeple or place of worship I’d say “Thank you, God.” As Lent progressed, I found myself actively seeking more of these little opportunities. As I continued to do these things, I found a longing for more of God was suddenly burning inside me. By Easter, I was the burning man!

I will share more of my Lenten experience here in Good News To-Go! I hope that some of my witness will be the catalyst for opening your own minds and heart to God just as Sister Ann’s words inspired me. Be greedy this Lent. Ask God for more, more, more of Him in your life. 

Room to Chat: Today is an opportunity for a test run. Where can you find a moment for God in your busy day?