Advent Day 2 – Good News for November 29

29 11 2010

Matthew 8:5-11

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”  He said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”

The Daily Path: In today’s Advent Calendar window, I’m sending you a reminder of the wonderful gift of companionship. What could we offer to the residents of a local care facility? Imagine someone’s parent sitting all alone through this season. How can we light a smile on a lonely face?

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Entry at the Gate – Good News for October 27

27 10 2010

St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 6:1-4

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother. This is the first commandment with a promise, that it may go well with you and that you may have a long life on earth. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up with the training and instruction of the Lord.

Luke 13:22-30

Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!

And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

The Daily Path: Here’s an excerpt from a conversation overheard at the gate:

But… but… we went to church every Sunday.”

“In between?”

“You mean there was more to it than just showing up?”





Days of Faith and Healing – Good News for June 26

26 06 2010

Matthew 8:5-17

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”

He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”

The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven, but the children of the Kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

And Jesus said to the centurion, “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” And at that very hour his servant was healed.

Jesus entered the house of Peter, and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and waited on him.

When it was evening, they brought him many who were possessed by demons, and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick, to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet:

He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.

The Daily Path: “Only say the word…”

“If it is your will…”

The past two days we have read about the incredible faith in God held by two men. Let’s remember the leper and the centurion as we travel the path before us.

Room to Chat: Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.





Accepting the Light – Good News for March 25

25 03 2010

Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”

But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

The Daily Path: The angel brought news of God’s light to a young virgin. She freely accepted this light, knowing nothing of the “how” only that this was God’s will and that was enough for her.

In Burstein’s “Church” painting, that I’ve been focusing on this week, we see a great light casting its warm glow on the back of a person sitting just outside a church. As I reflected on this painting it reminded me of Luke’s gospel. When I stop to think about it, the light we see in this image is not unlike my own experience with God’s call. The light was ALWAYS shining on me, but for so long I chose to sit outside – ignoring the opportunity to step inside – and missing out on the chance to be fully bathed in its glow.

When the light hit Mary she walked right in with the great gift of perfect acceptance. I took decades to get my rear up from the steps I sat on, turn towards the light, and accept his love. But once I did, God’s light immediately penetrated my heart. To me, this re-conversion has been nothing short of miraculous.

I know that NOTHING is impossible for God.

Church by Jonathan Burstein





Dreaming – Good News for March 19

19 03 2010

Matthew 1:16, 18-21

Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ.

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.

The Daily Path: When Joseph went to sleep on the night he was visited by the angel in a dream, I suspect his mind was full of anxiety over the discovery that his new wife was pregnant. Have you ever put your head to the pillow while worried or angry about something? I’m sure we all even. On a more positive note, have you ever framed a question clearly in your mind just before falling asleep? The latter is a technique I have often used to successfully come up with an answer or a creative solution.

I’m not a neurophysiologist, so I can’t tell you why my brain develops answers during sleep mode. In fact, I don’t care to know why for fear it will disable my little secret method. All I care about is the fact that answers often come in my sleep. The same is true for relief of anxiety. Have you ever had the experience of waking up worry free in a very peaceful state, only to have awareness of your troubles creep back into your conscious? “Damn, I was only dreaming.” Obviously some spiritual nurturing is going on before my human doubt returns. Dr. Wayne Dyer and others have suggested that the moments following sleep are when we are closest to our source (God). I would not disagree based on my own experience.

Are sleep and dreams a mechanism through which the Spirit engages with us? I don’t doubt it. In some ways that goes along with another concept I’ve read that suggests grace already exists within us and is activated at certain times. Again, I don’t want to fall into rationalizing, but I find it interesting how sleep and dreams can return me to a more peaceful state in which “true” answers become accessible. Hmm… perhaps the angels of the Lord are neurons! Oops, there I go again.





Wrestling With God – Good News for July 7

7 07 2009

Genesis 32: 23-31

In the course of the night, Jacob arose, took his family, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had taken them across the stream and had brought over all his possessions, Jacob was left there alone.

Then some man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. When the man saw that he could not prevail over him, he struck Jacob’s hip at its socket, so that the hip socket was wrenched as they wrestled. 

The man then said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go until you bless me.” 

The man asked, “What is your name?” He answered, “Jacob.”

Then the man said, “You shall no longer be spoken of as Jacob, but as Israel, because you have contended with divine and human beings and have prevailed.” Jacob then asked him, “Do tell me your name, please.”

He answered, “Why should you want to know my name?” With that, he bade him farewell.

Jacob named the place Peniel, “Because I have seen God face to face,” he said, “yet my life has been spared.”

The Daily Path: Another timely message that reminds me of how important it is to read Scripture as a regular part of our faith journey. If I may take the “Me” outlook, it would appear that today’s reading from Genesis is targeted square at me.

Recent weeks have provided one struggle after another. Not unlike Jacob, I feel as if I have been wrestling. What I didn’t really grasp until this moment is that God has been wrestling with me in the sense that He has placed these challenges in my life. Once again, God wants my attention. As always, there is purpose in this. 

Yesterday, I took some time to visit a chapel where I go to talk with Mother Mary. (When I was an infant, my parents “gave” me to Mary.) I usually sit before the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe with whom I have felt a special bond ever since I was very young. During my prayers I dropped to my knees and tearfully begged her to petition Jesus to show me through this difficult time. I know she was listening because when I left the chapel the great anxiety carried inside of me had calmed. 

This morning I see that a message has been sent in answer to my prayers. Yes, I am wrestling at the moment, but in the struggle is the hand of God. I will continue to fight through this. I will not be overcome. I must endure all of this to find what God has intended for me.

Today’s passage is comforting and instills greater resolve to carry on down the road ahead of me. 

Room to Chat: Lord, my challenges pale in comparison to those being faced by countless others on this earth. Yet, in your wisdom you know our limits, just as you knew Jacobs. Thank you for even taking time to provide these hurdles through which I will ultimately draw closer to You.

Thank you, Mother Mary.

our_lady2





A Centurion’s Faith – Good News for June 27

27 06 2009

Matthew 8:5-17

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.”  

He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”

The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven, but the children of the Kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

And Jesus said to the centurion, “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” And at that very hour his servant was healed.

Jesus entered the house of Peter, and saw his mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, the fever left her, and she rose and waited on him.

When it was evening, they brought him many who were possessed by demons, and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick, to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet:

He took away our infirmities and bore our diseases.

The Daily Path: How is it that a Roman Centurion, someone of great stature and essentially an enemy of Jews and Christians alike, could display one of the greatest acts of faith ever chronicled? Yet for me, someone who professes to love the Lord, the ability to always hand my burden over to God with complete faith remains such a challenge. 

Room to Chat: Lord, please hold Dominika close in the days ahead as she resumes the battle with cancer. Take away this infirmity for with You all things are possible.