What’s My Line? – Good News for March 2

2 03 2009

The line on the left or the line on the right? 

Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’

And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’

Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’

He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The Daily Path: One thing I would like to improve during Lent is my ability to see the face of God in others around me. All too often I can only see another human form. Most of the time I’m so wrapped up in ME that I’m blind and deaf. Even so close to home as with my own wife and children. I don’t care to join that line on the left of God with all the other Me-Me-Me-Me sopranos.

Do you have five minutes today to just investigate where the line is forming to God’s right? If you believe in the God of Abraham, or even if you don’t, what harm is there in at least considering how to feed, cloth and comfort another who is desperately in need? It can be a one time only event. A mere peek at what’s going on.

Or you can say, “I’m in. I want to try this.”

The line on the right forms in countless ways. It’s next to the cardboard shanty you see everyday under an overpass. It’s as close as next to your best friend who needs a little help during a tough time. You can seek out the line forming through a formal organization like Catholic Charities or Doctors Without Borders or an inner city shelter. Or it’s with that little start-up, Me, Inc. that has been so busy investing in itself that it’s lost sight of God in the faces surrounding it. 

Will it be the line on the left or the line on the right? The choice is ours.

Room to Chat: Lord God, give me the courage to open my eyes today and see your face in the world around me. Allow me to open my heart and mind. Enable me to use my hands in the service of others.

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?