Spirit Fulfilled – Good News for January 7

7 01 2010

Luke 4:14-22

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.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.

The Daily Path: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…”

How will I fulfill what is asked of me today? And how will I enable the Spirit to work through me?





Prophets – Good News for December 30

30 12 2009

Luke 2:36-40

There was 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: With the eve of the New Year upon us, I’m borrowing a page from the prophetess Anna’s playbook by thinking about what is ahead for me in 2010. I know the next 365 days will be very different from the year that rapidly draws to an end. 2009 has been a tumultuous year for me to say the least, presenting a mixed bag of blessings and unimaginable challenges. I look back to see a period of tremendous spiritual growth and outward change. This year could be viewed as a boot camp preparing me for what is next in my life.

While the turning of a calendar page will not signal a new beginning in the eyes of God, it does provide a boundary for new hope. Like the dawn of each new day, the new year allows us to move ahead. More than ever, I see how my path is guided by God. Hopefully, I’ve learned enough in 2009 to have greater faith in His plan allowing me to remove myself from outcomes and go with His flow. I hope Luke’s gospel will in some small way reflect what transpires for me in 2010.

The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.






Glory to God – Good News for December 25

25 12 2009

Luke 2:1-14

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:

“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”





Facing The Truth – Good News for August 31

31 08 2009

Luke 4:16-30

Jesus 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.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?”

He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’”

And he said, “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: How often have I been confronted by the truth, only to be offended and attempt to drive it from my presence? But you can’t escape the truth. It always returns to dwell in your midst.

Room to Chat: Two members of my parish are seriously ill. One with pancreatic cancer. Another will have major surgery on his heart tomorrow. Please keep them in your prayers.





Jesus Goes To Yankee Stadium – Good News for April 22

22 04 2009

John 3:16-21

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

The Daily Path: There was a time when anyone watching a sporting event on television, especially a major one like the Super Bowl or World Series, would see a man in a funny multi-color wig holding up a small white sign with “John 3:16” printed on it. The guy knew where the cameras would be aimed during the broadcast, such as behind the goal post or behind home plate, and that’s where he would buy a ticket. Whenever that camera focused on action in front of him, he held up his sign for millions of viewers to see. This guy was either a millionaire or had a sponsor because he seemed to appear at every event and the seats he occupied could not have been inexpensive.  

Like many, I used to think “John 3:16 guy” was a certified looney tune. I would make my “Stan Doubtsall” judgement without even knowing what was to be found in the third chapter of John’s gospel. For all I knew, it could have said “Kin, you have won a trip to Yankee Stadium for lunch with Joe DiMaggio. All you have to do is read this verse.” But I couldn’t be bothered with such nonsense. I knew better because…

I wanted to live in darkness, not the light.

Instead of being mentally challenged, the “John 3:16 guy” was enlightened far beyond my experience. He was also brave enough to die a million deaths by exposing himself to ridicule from the viewing masses like me and certainly from others surrounding him in the crowd. Imagine what he must have experienced in Philly! Yet somehow this guy carried on his quest for many years so that the light of Jesus work could be exposed. He may still be at it.

Maybe one day I’ll be seated next to him in Yankee Stadium and have the opportunity to apologize for judging someone courageous enough to carry the light of Jesus into the darkness. I can buy a hot-dog for the crazy man who was actually trying to help me all those years. 

Room to Chat: When you see someone on the street today that you are certain is a whack-job, remember “John 3:16 guy” and his boss… another who was judged, Jesus of Nazareth.





Christ Is Risen – Good News for Easter Sunday

12 04 2009

He is risen!

Mark 16:1-7

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up,
they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large.

On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed.
He said to them, “Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold the place where they laid him. But go and tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.'”

The Daily Path: Christ is risen! 

Our Lord rolled back the huge stone in my life so that I could live again. I’m so grateful for all God that has done for me and my family in the past year. His grace has been abundant. So much love has come our way in the most difficult of times to show us that we are not alone. This would not have been possible were there not a living God. 

I pray that each of you will come to know Christ’s love as I have. Let Him roll back the tombstone in your own life. 

May the Peace of Christ be with you this Easter.

Room to Chat: Thanks to everyone who has joined our little novena for Michael these past two weeks. I know God listens when two or more come together to pray. And I pray that He rewards each of you for the time you’ve spent these past two weeks remembering our brother Michael.

 

Happy Easter

Happy Easter





Mission Possible – Good News for March 25

25 03 2009

Nothing will be impossible for God…

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: Growing up Catholic I learned that all things were possible for God. He was the Creator, the purveyor of all things. I read of miracles performed by Jesus. I was taught to love my neighbor, show mercy and to forgive. I had no reason to doubt that these teachings were based in anything but truth. Yet as I look back, did I fully understand? Not really. Imagine how young Mary must have felt? She even asks the angel “How can these things be possible?”

Faith. 

So many times Jesus shook his head and asked why we weak humans always needed a sign. Some physical assurance before we fully believe. Even Mary got a little glimpse from the angel who told of her how Elizabeth, long considered barren, would also give birth.

I was no different. I needed a little glimmer of the possible before I could have complete faith in the Lord. As I approach the one year anniversary of my full re-birth in Christ, I’m reminded of how God works in mysterious ways that we don’t always understand. Yet if we have faith the most amazing things can and will happen in our lives. Friends, it is true. I’m so happy to be able to attest: Nothing is impossible for God!

Room to Chat: Have you considered your own return to God? Or perhaps a willingness to hold Him closer?  Today open your heart to these possibilities. Spend a few moments contemplating your own Mission Possible. “Here I am, Lord…”