The Formula – Good News for February 6

6 02 2009

Hebrews 13:1

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.

Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body.

Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.

Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, I will never forsake you or abandon you.

Thus we may say with confidence: The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The Daily Path: Here’s another reminder of the simple way God asks us to live our life. Another roadmap to quickly reference and get our bearings straight. I’m glad that these keep popping up. It’s so easy for me to forget this basic formula while dealing with the world around. Earlier this week I talked about the discipline I need. Remembering love and mercy has to be part of my daily workout as I continue to build my strength on the journey home. One repetition. Then another. 

The playing field may change but these guidelines are a constant… just as Christ is always there for me and for all of us.

Room to Chat: Do you have 10 seconds somewhere in your day? Try this 10 second connection to God: The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?

Viral Love – Good News for January 5

5 01 2009

John 3:22 – 4:6

We receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit whom he gave us.

Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist who, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world.

You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They belong to the world; accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world, and the world listens to them.

We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us. This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.

The Daily Path:  Once again we hear about loving God and each another. These things are pleasing to God. It’s so simple. Yet somehow we don’t get it. We live in a world obsessed with the wrong things that are in direct conflict with love. Perhaps today, January 5, 2009 will be the day that putting emphasis on loving God and each other becomes viral in nature and sweeps across the world. If thousands can take to the streets in hatred spawned by the anti-christ, can’t millions just as easily spread God’s love?

Will you be a carrier for the virus that spreads love?

Room to Chat:  How about a little prayer while washing your hands? The Mayo Clinic suggests that after wetting the hands and lathering with soap, you should scrub vigorously for 20 seconds. Sounds like an ideal time for a prayer to God.

Good News for the End of 2008

31 12 2008

John 2:18-29

Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number. But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.

Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist. No one who denies the Son has the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well. Let what you heard in the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us: eternal life.

I write you these things about those who would deceive you. As for you, the anointing that you received from him remains in you, so that you do not need anyone to teach you. But this anointing teaches you about everything and is true and not false; just as it taught you, remain in him.

And now children, remain in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not be put to shame by him at the coming. if you consider that he is righteous, you also know that everyone who acts in righteousness is begotten by him.

The Daily Path: As the final minutes of 2008 tick down, I reflect back on all that has happened this year.

On Easter Sunday I felt God’s voice calling me home and was inspired to once again practice my Catholic faith. Since that day I can honestly say that I have experienced the greatest joy even though the year has brought previously unkown hardships. God’s love and mercy have been evident everywhere. We’ve been blessed by another child due in March. Family and friends have rallied around with unimaginable generosity to help us weather the storm. Most importantly, God is holding his arms open to embrace my wife and children. There will be three baptisms in February and hopefully three more to follow. 

As I close out Good News To-Go! for this year, I pray that God will continue to touch each of you as He has “from the beginning” and that you will “remain in him”  by opening your mind and heart to His love. The little boy who wore a green parochial school sweater for so many years finally came home in 2008. Will you join me? Just give God a chance. What do you have to lose? 

My friends, may the peace and love of Christ be with you in 2009.

The Triple Crown – Good News for December 30

30 12 2008

John 2:12-17

I write to you, children, because you know the Father.

I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning.

I write to you, young men, because you are strong and the word of God remains in you, and you have conquered the Evil One.

Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever.

The Daily Path: Lust. Enticement. A pretentious life. 

I don’t have to look far to see how this triple crown of spiritual doom reigns in this world. All I have to do is read the news or watch television. Come to think of it, all I have to do is look within myself. As painful as it might be to admit, all of these exist within me. One of the great things to come out of my recent struggles is seeing the pretentious life for what it is. A big lie. 

I’ll never be a monk, nor do I aspire to live that life, but I can be mindful of what I do aspire to and how I can live a good (pleasing to God) life. 

I usually don’t skip ahead to the following day’s readings, but I had to read the rest of John’s letter. I’ll share this tomorrow because I think it’s important in these troubling times. 

Good Coming To A Theater Near You – Good News for December 28

28 12 2008

Luke 2:22-40

When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, They took him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord”,  and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons”, in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, awaiting the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit  that he should not see death  before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. He came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus  to perform the custom of the law in regard to him, he took him into his arms and blessed God, saying: “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;  and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,  “Behold, this child is destined  for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted  —and you yourself a sword will pierce—  so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

There was also a prophetess, Anna,  the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage,  and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple,  but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time,  she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child  to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem.

When they had fulfilled all the prescriptions of the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom;  and the favor of God was upon him.

The Daily Path: Over the past two days I’ve spent an unusual amount of time in couch potato mode while dealing with a virus that Santa delivered in my stocking. In that time I’ve done the only two things I’m capable of at the moment, sleep and watch television. I couldn’t help but notice one ad for a film titled The Unborn. The movie has something to do with evil trying to take hold of someone. This ad, with its graphic images of evil at work, plays over and over… usually the sign of a bad movie.

What struck me was this: Why is the onslaught of evil so often glorified? Why can’t Good News be a screenplay worthy of Hollywood’s millions and its mighty marketing machine? Why can’t the audience of evil change its taste?

L and M – Good News for November 6

6 11 2008

Luke 15: 1-10

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 

So Jesus addressed this parable to them. “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’  I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.

“Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

The Daily Path: The message is always so simple… “Love and mercy.”

But why is implementation of these so damn hard?

Perhaps because it’s always about ME? If I didn’t care what other people thought about ME, could I dispense endless mercy? Could I fearlessly distribute love? What does love and mercy cost? Nothing but the time it takes to spread it around. Maybe I could be the Warren Buffett of love and mercy… if only ME would get out of the way.