Not Just Coin – Good News for November 22

22 11 2010

Luke 21:1-4

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

The Daily Path: We can give from our wallet or we can give of ourselves. Certainly both types of giving are needed. Jesus points to monetary giving in this example but I think the message is broader than just coin. I’ve found that “being there” for someone in a time of great need can provide incalculable value. I’ve been on the receiving side and can tell you from my own experience that when things seem darkest receiving a note from a friend, an invitation for coffee, or a friendly call, can dig you out of the depths like nothing else. This type of genuine outreach keeps you going when the weight of the world feels squarely on your shoulders.

This week, as we prepare to gather as family and give thanks, perhaps it’s time to think about making one of those calls. Who can we share our spiritual wealth with? Who’s feeling alone or bearing the great weight of worry? Who could benefit from a little joy? Friends, I think our horn of plenty comes in all shapes and sizes. See what can be shared from your pantry of love.





Returning Love? – Good News for November 6

6 11 2010

Luke 16:9-15

Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth?

If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all these things and sneered at him. And he said to them, “You justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.”

The Daily Path: In a recent post, Richard Rohr reminds us that our actions are not about earning God’s love, rather it’s all about returning that love. And as Jesus reminds us in today’s reading, God knows what is in our heart. We do get distracted and attempt to “serve two masters” but in the end it’s about how we love the one true master. There is no hiding behind false love and actions.





Live in Love – Good News for October 26

26 10 2010

St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 5:2

Brothers and sisters,

Live in love, as Christ loved us.

 





Death In The Family – Good News for October 9

9 10 2010

St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians 3:27-29

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise.

Luke 11:27-28

While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

The Daily Path: Earlier this week I read about Faisal Shahzad, the young man who has confessed to an attempted car bombing in New York’s Time Square. I was deeply troubled by his anger, lack of remorse, and call for new attacks against fellow descendants of Abraham in this and other countries.

“I will gladly kill my sister and brother for my cause,” seems to be the cry that rises up across the globe. MY Cause. ME. And ME is okay with slaughtering MINE. But it’s not MINE, it’s HIS.

All of God’s children have become targets. As St. Paul tells us in today’s passage: Forget the labels! There is only one description to catalog us all… we are one family under God. Some of us live in Pakistan. Others in Palestine, Israel, and Sudan. Many in North Korea. Still more in Iran, the U.S. and China. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that we should be sitting down breaking bread, not breaking bodies. The call to prayer should be universal as we are all descendants of Abraham and familia.

“Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” – Jesus

Keep all of our family in your prayers. Ask that the ears of our brother Faisal – and all who harbor disregard  for any member of the family – be opened to hear the true words of God. May the grace of love, forgiveness and healing fill us ALL.





Faith Trilogy – Good News for October 3

3 10 2010

Habakkuk 1

How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen! I cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not intervene. Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and clamorous discord. Then the Lord answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash one has no integrity; but the just one, because of his faith, shall live.

St. Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy 1:6-8, 13-14

I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord, nor of me, a prisoner for his sake; but bear your share of hardship for the gospel with the strength that comes from God.

Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit that dwells within us.

Luke 17:5-6

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

The Daily Path: Today’s readings present a perfect storm of guidelines for maintaining and growing our faith. Friends, regardless of where you find yourself in the spiritual journey, or even if you have unintentionally come upon this posting, keep these passages close. In them I have found the call to greater patience, courage, and understanding of the mystery of God.

Last night, I had the pleasure to witness the grace of God at work. It was a lifetime in the making, but culminated by a group of friends after months of planning. This band of “conspirators” wanted to recognize two individuals in their community (familia) who have embodied all of the calls to faith that were described in today’s trilogy of readings. What I saw last night was a cyclical act of genuine love flowing back to two people who have strived throughout their lives to be sources of God’s great love for us all.

Many months ago I received an e-mail from the conspirators advising me that they planned to take action, and asking for my assistance. Their plan was to pursue formal recognition – in the form of the Diocesan Medal of Honor – for my parents, Herb and Claire, who have gone about the work of Christ in their faith community for some 50 years. The conspirators put together a compelling case for the honor by carefully identifying a body of work that could have filled volumes with incremental acts of selfless giving.

When the case put forth to the Diocese had been reviewed and approved, their pastor informed them of the honor that was to be bestowed on them. Mom and Dad’s immediate response was “We’re not worthy of such an honor. We did so little.” In this I beg to differ, as do the band of conspirators who represent all in the “familia” that is your faith community.

Few have weathered the storms of life with the patience told of by Habakkuk. Few have so courageously answered St. Paul’s call to embody Christ’s teachings and in turn become true teachers of His love. Few have relentlessly asked God for the grace that is faith.

My parents never had the means to write the big checks that build cathedrals or parish centers. But they used their “wealth of willingness and ability” as few have, by bringing friends together to act in love, including the stranger so that they always felt welcome, helping the troubled find forgiveness, and leading people – young, old and indifferent – to Christ. It is an impressive body of work, but to my mom and dad it was just allowing their hearts to remain open to God’s calling for them in this life.

No, Herb and Claire, we all stand behind this conspiracy. You have earned this honor… ten-fold!

Knowing my parents, it was not the gold medal or the accompanying certificate bearing the bishop’s signature that they will cherish most, instead I think it was the mere idea that anyone would want to pursue this honor for them, AND the rousing crescendo of genuine affection that rose up last night from a church full of their fellow parishioners, many of whom have been the recipients of God’s love through His servants, Herb and Claire.

We are all blessed to have them in our lives and thank them for a lifetime of love.





Meaning – Good News for September 25

25 09 2010

Luke 9:43-45

While they were all amazed at his every deed, Jesus said to his disciples, “Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.

The Daily Path: Like the disciples, there are many times when we don’t understand what has been placed in our lives or why. I find myself searching for meaning on a regular basis. However, one thing I am certain of… the reason my wife Anne was brought into my life. She is nothing short of amazing. The dedicated and loving mother of four beautiful children. Understanding and caring second mother to my oldest son. Patient wife and friend to a most difficult husband. I could write a book about all she does for her family, always putting us first. Anne has brought so much joy to my life, far more than I deserve. She is a true sign of the great love that God brings to each of us. This I understand. For her I am grateful.

I love you, Anne. Happy 40th birthday.





Hearing Aid – Good News for September 18

18 09 2010

Luke 8:4-15

When a large crowd gathered, with people from one town after another journeying to Jesus, he spoke in a parable.

“A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path and was trampled, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground, and when it grew, it withered for lack of moisture. Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew with it and choked it. And some seed fell on good soil, and when it grew, it produced fruit a hundredfold.”

After saying this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear ought to hear.”

Then his disciples asked him what the meaning of this parable might be. He answered, “Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you; but to the rest, they are made known through parables so that they may look but not see, and hear but not understand.

“This is the meaning of the parable. The seed is the word of God. Those on the path are the ones who have heard, but the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts that they may not believe and be saved. Those on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear, receive the word with joy, but they have no root; they believe only for a time and fall away in time of temptation. As for the seed that fell among thorns, they are the ones who have heard, but as they go along, they are choked by the anxieties and riches and pleasures of life, and they fail to produce mature fruit. But as for the seed that fell on rich soil, they are the ones who, when they have heard the word, embrace it with a generous and good heart, and bear fruit through perseverance.”

The Daily Path: Lately, I have given great thought to those walking along side us in the faith community who hear the Good News but are having trouble Listening. Like them, I have trouble living the Word of God 24/7. I like to think that some of the time I am able to follow Christ’s teaching, yet succumb to lapses where I, too, become choked by anxieties and yearnings for a better material life. Pursuing the ME life is like driving a truck along a narrow Afghan mountain road that falls steeply away on either side. If you lose focus for more than an instant, truck and cargo will go crashing down into the valleys and canyons below.

Through the Good News, Jesus shows us the safe path to God. It’s not an easy journey. Often it’s like that Afghan mountain pass. If we LISTEN to the Gospel… not just hear, but truly listen and follow these teachings, we can safely navigate the journey home.

My dear friends and fellow travelers, embrace the lessons of love and forgiveness we find throughout the Gospel. Fight the urge to lash out when your Me life is threatened. If we as followers who call ourselves children of God are attacking those within our faith community, how then can we hope to reach our desired home?

The Gospel is a living word, not some antiquity who’s relevancy passed thousands of years ago. It is today as it was when first spoken: Your road map home. Plug in your hearing aids. LISTEN to the parables and live. Presume innocence. Stop the attacks on each other. Resist the ME. Embrace those you feel challenge the ME and become stronger in living more fully as WE.

Sorry if I sound so preachy this morning. Pray that we both may improve our listening and in doing so truly hear the Word of God.

Thanks for spending a moment here today.