Travel Log – Good News for January 3

3 01 2011

Matthew 4:12-17, 23-25

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled:

Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

He went around all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness among the people. His fame spread to all of Syria, and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases and racked with pain, those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics, and he cured them. And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan followed him.

The Daily Path: This morning I’m packing my bags for a little trip. Actually, a big trip… around the Internet in search of the places mentioned in this morning’s gospel. I’ve never been to the Decapolis, have you? It would be nice to put some of the places where Jesus traveled in context. This might be a good year to become The Jesus Trekker! Bon Voyage

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Advent Day 23 – Good News for December 20

20 12 2010

Luke 1:26-38

In the sixth month, 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: “May it be done according to your word.”

I wish those words were always on the tip of my tongue, etched in my consciousness. Instead, old Gabriel hears this when he visits me: “Behold I am a stubborn, obstinate, egocentric servant of the Lord. Not sure why he even bothers with me.” Then the angel departed to report back on this woeful child of God. “Master, why DO you bother with this one?”






Advent Day 11 – Good News for December 8

8 12 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: Imagine the surprise when you arrive at the door of your fiance and she announces a pregnancy… her own! Not only that, but she also springs news of a supernatural being making an appearance to tell her of “the test results” accompanied by a heavenly request for the child to be named Cornelius. You might quickly run down a mental checklist of how this could be, coming to a screeching halt on the fact that you never had sex with the woman who, up until this moment, you believed to be a virgin. Astonishment? To say the least. Cause for a trip to the counselor’s coach? Most likely. Yet this is pretty much what happened to a young girl named Mary and her much older fiance, Joe the carpenter, some two thousand years ago.

How would you have taken this news as the mother or father to be? Would you have taken it all in stride having complete faith that nothing is impossible for God? I don’t think I would have, but there is my challenge!





Seeing – Good News for August 24

24 08 2010

John 1:45-51

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one about whom Moses wrote in the law, and also the prophets, Jesus son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” But Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Here is a true child of Israel. There is no duplicity in him.” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, I saw you under the fig tree.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.”

And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

The Daily Path: An excerpt from Fr. Richard Rohr’s Daily Reflections…

In paradoxical language, if you try to rest on one side and forget the other, you lose the truth.  The whole is always both-and.

We’ve seen some Christian cultures that are entirely centered on the Cross and they lose the resurrection.  In wealthy countries like our own we create the “prosperity gospel,” as it is called—all resurrection and almost no reference to the pain and suffering of the world.

We lose the full mystery of God, and the mystery of our own transformation, when we stand on one side and refuse to hold the creative tension that Jesus held.  It is the horizontal line of two nailed hands, between the good and the bad thief, that crucifies Jesus and that liberates us.






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





Lessons of Love – Good News for March 8

8 03 2010

Luke 4:24-30

Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

The Daily Path: When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury.

March 8 is always a special day for me as it’s the anniversary of the birth of my grandmother, Florence. She’s been gone now for some 18 years, but on this day we reconnect. I keep “Nana” on my mind throughout the day, and her presence feels so close once again. When I look at the role models in my life, she is right at the top for many reasons, far too many to share with you here today. The one I will share is the lesson of unconditional love that filled her heart.

There was always a great sense of peace about Nana. In my experience with her, no matter what challenges life presented – and there were many – somehow she retained her composure. I never heard her yell nor did I witness those moments of rage we all seem to experience. I’m sure there were many times that she wanted to go off on someone but I only saw a woman who could pass through the midst of the moment and continue on her way. It seemed as though there was only love and forgiveness in her heart, even when she was mugged and robbed no fewer than THREE TIMES in her later life.

Nana was a convert to Catholicism and I always find her great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus so appropriate because in her own heart was such tremendous love. I pray that in my own life I can demonstrate one tenth the love she demonstrated for others… no matter what the circumstances.

I love you Nana and miss you terribly. Thank you for the lessons of Christ you continue to teach me.





OJT – Good News for January 24

24 01 2010

Luke 4:14-21

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

The Daily Path: I’d like to share an excerpt from Fr. Richard Rohr’s works on St. Paul: Great Themes of Paul – Life As Participation…

“God calls whom God calls, it seems, and the preparation comes afterwards when we actually do the task!  This is the paradigmatic pattern for all faith journeys.”

As I reflect on what Rohr states, it seems that there is a lot of on-the-job training that occurs following conversion, re-conversion, epiphany, revelation, or whatever you want to name God’s call. In my case, God found a most unworthy candidate for enlistment. I often feel like the kid who climbs off the bus at Army boot camp. You barely know enough to respond when the drill sergeant lines you up and takes roll call.

There are many of us who have been called by God. Some have joined the formal ranks and will go through basic training to serve as a religious. Others will be called to work formally bringing glad tidings to the poor of body and spirit. Then there are those of us who will do their best to stay on the journey. To follow the path with our eyes and ears open, hopefully learning each step of the way. Perhaps inspiring others to join us on the road.