Advent Day 7 – Good News for December 4

4 12 2010

Matthew 9:35-10:1

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Then he summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

The Daily Path

“Trying to do as much good as possible in the limited time I have on this planet.”

Hugh Romney, aka:Wavy Gravy

How is that for a life mission statement?

Wavy is best known in pop culture as a member of author Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters from the Beat and Woodstock generations. He’s been a lifelong activist sporting a diverse resume that few can match. Some may view him as nothing more than one of the last remnants of the psychedelic hippies, a living artifact of society gone wild. I would challenge them to look beneath the colorful exterior at Gravy’s spiritual side and the deeper mission. In fact, I think Hugh Romney might have fit in nicely with a certain band of Twelve that followed the Christ.

Givers Win – Good News for October 19

19 10 2009

Luke 12:13-31

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”

Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’

But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”

The Daily Path: I’m no psychologist, but I know enough to understand that we go through several stages in our life. So many of us spend our youth driven to gather possessions. For some, the youthful “gatherer” stage is extended well beyond mid-life. You may have seen a popular bumper sticker that proclaims “Whoever dies with the most toys wins the game.” While still lost in my own youthful greed I have come to see that nothing could be further from the truth. Giving, not storing makes one a winner. Why am I always a late bloomer?

Room to Chat: Our Lord has blessed my mother with His healing grace. Yesterday, she returned home from hospital and is well on the road to recovery. Thank you all for your many prayers and acts of giving! I’ve been shown “the way of a giver” through your generosity and love.


Genuine Giving – Good News for June 6

6 06 2009

Mark 12:38-44

In the course of his teaching Jesus said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and accept greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.”

He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.  Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”

The Daily Path: On a number of occasions I have experienced the following scenarios, perhaps you have as well…

An individual who becomes displeased over something that has occurred in an organization they belong to. This change in attitude is always related to change. It may be new leadership, a perceived slight, or loss of personal prestige. As a result of this change, the person(s) decide to leave the group. Before pulling up their “tent stakes” to depart they make it clear to anyone within earshot that not only are they leaving, they are taking ALL their financial support with them.

I’ve seen this in schools, non-profits, and especially among parish communities. In some cases it is justified to leave a group. In my experience it’s most often related to ego and largely unjustified. These people are not only hurting the community they leave, they are hurting themselves and completely missing the teaching of Jesus as repeated in Mark’s gospel. 

I struggle with ego. Most of us do. The ME likes to be praised. The ME likes to be in positions of prominence and influence. The ME also has thin skin. We move about thinking of ME and the reflections of life we see are like looking in a mirror. You can’t see the whole picture… you only see YOURSELF. 

ME gives a few bucks to the church that won’t hurt ME’s financial position in the least. And then, when ME feels ME isn’t getting the recognition that ME deserves for this surplus donation, ME leaves in a huff with those few dollars that ME believes are all important. 

This isn’t genuine giving. It’s vanity giving. It enables us to walk around in our fine robes like the Scribes of 2000 years ago. When someone spills something on our fine robe we make a loud stink and leave.

I pray that I’m granted enough vision to always see the lesson Jesus teaches here. May my contributions to the faith community always be genuine and without strings attached.

Room to Chat: In this economy it’s pretty easy to achieve the level of giving until it hurts. Maybe this coming week we can all add a little bit extra to the basket and good (God) works we support.