Touch Him – Good News for September 7

7 09 2010

Luke 6:12-19

Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles:

Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

And he came down with them and stood on a stretch of level ground. A great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and even those who were tormented by unclean spirits were cured. Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.

The Daily Path: This morning I woke up feeling a great heaviness after a night of troubled dreams. Then I read the words of Luke’s gospel: Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.

Room to Chat: Jesus, count me among the great crowd of disciples who come to you for healing.

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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.






Father Son One – Good News for May 1

1 05 2010

John 14:7-14

Jesus said to his disciples, “If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to Jesus, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?

The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves.

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father. And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.”

The Daily Path: My high school soccer coach was a former European pro who played for Real Madrid in Spain. He left the game to become a Catholic priest. During practice, Fr. Pablo would get frustrated with us when we couldn’t execute some facet of the game that he spent many hours trying to teach us. I can still see his olive skin turning beet red underneath his scruffy beard, and hear his voice as he would emphatically ask in a heavy accent: “Robles! How I have to say to you?!”

I suspect that Jesus wanted to do the same thing with his disciples. Maybe he did and our faithful scribe John merely failed to add the exclamation points. Just as my coach tried to get me to have faith in what he was teaching, so, too, did Jesus try to get his team on board the concept that He and the Father are one. Simple, eh?

What do you mean, No??!!

“Stan! How I have to say to you?”






Common Miracles – Good News for April 16

16 04 2010

John 6:1-15

Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee. A large crowd followed him, because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick. Jesus went up on the mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. The Jewish feast of Passover was near. When Jesus raised his eyes and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, he said to Philip, “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?” He said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do.

Philip answered him, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.”

One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?”

Jesus said, “Have the people recline.” Now there was a great deal of grass in that place. So the men reclined, about five thousand in number. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted. When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.

When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

The Daily Path: “Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”

I’ve heard stories of the days of The Great Depression in the U.S…. yes, that would be the FIRST one that began in 1929 and lasted for most of a decade. During those times relatively few people had abundant reserves of anything. Yet, it was common for those who had a little something to share it with those who had nothing. A meal intended for four was stretched to provide sustenance for seven. More water and another precious potato was thrown into a pot of soup so the family next door could eat.

Once again, we are experiencing widespread economic crisis. I don’t think I need to remind anyone of what is going on. All you have to do is follow the news. However, today’s Gospel from John is very timely for all of us…

Common miracles occur every day. The realm of miracles is not that of Jesus alone to perform. Each of us are miracle workers in our own way. Miracles come in all shapes and sizes. Was one neighbor providing a helping of soup to another neighbor a colossal act? Of course not. It was a small sacrifice, but no less a miracle to the out-of-work father who couldn’t provide a meal to his children that evening.

Friends, I see miracles as the act of sharing our abundance. We all have some form of abundance, no matter how difficult our situation may be. There is always something that can be shared with others in need. And it’s not always about money. You’d be amazed at how a few words of encouragement shared at just the right moment can have a lasting and profound impact on someone who may be feeling desperate. Perhaps you have a skill or even just some time to share that can make a huge difference in one life or many. I’ll bet if you took a quick mental inventory of what you have to share, you’d be amazed at the abundance in your possession.

In this Gospel, we see how the fear harbored by Philip – over expense – was overcome by the hope of Andrew who saw where abundance existed. A few fish and a couple of loaves ultimately satisfied five thousand.

What’s in your basket of miracles?





Called Up – Good News for January 23

23 01 2010

Mark 3:13-19

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.

He appointed the Twelve: Simon, whom he named Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, whom he named Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus; Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean, and Judas Iscariot who betrayed him.

The Daily Path: Jesus has been back up on the mountain again, summoning individuals he wants on his team. This time it was Grant Desme who got the call. Grant is one of the Oakland A’s top baseball prospects in the Minor Leagues who just announced he’s leaving baseball to join the Catholic priesthood. This announcement comes after Desme was named the 2009 Most Valuable Player in the Arizona Fall League, a showcase for the games most promising talent.

Isn’t it amazing how God works? As I know from my own life, He seems to call us when we least expect it, and during those moments we are able to hear the phone ring.

Here’s some of what Grant had to say about the call:

“My injuries, I would say, would be the biggest blessing God’s ever given me. For my entire life, baseball’s been my life. I define myself as a baseball player, and when it was taken away from me, it was an eye-opener. I really started doing some soul searching of who I was and who I wanted to be, and this is where that’s led me.”

“Whenever I was able to talk to someone about God, or help someone, that made coming to the ballpark more enjoyable. I looked forward to that.”

“During my last game in the fall league, I hit a home run and proceeded to strike out twice, which was kind of ironic since that defined my career a bit. I knew there was a good chance it would be my last game, but there was no sad feeling. I figured whatever God wants is going to happen, and I’m going to pursue that.”

“I want to give my life completely to God out of love because of everything He’s done for me. Something like this is even very little compared to what He’s done for me.”

Truly, God has called Grant to the Big Leagues! I for one am rooting for him to hit the biggest home runs of his life while shepherding Christ’s flock. Somehow I know he will.

Room to Chat: Father, thank you for calling Grant to join your team. Let his actions become a signal for other young men and women to drop their nets and follow you.





Fellowship – Good News for October 28

28 10 2009

Luke 6:12-16

Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called a Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

The Daily Path: On Sunday, I will join a group of old friends for a few days of golf on the Monterey (CA) Peninsula. We all used to work together on the corporate treadmill and had the chance to play a fair amount of golf with each other while entertaining our customer base. About ten years ago we decided to start a fall tradition of blending a few days of bad golf with exceptional fellowship. Last year I wasn’t able to attend. The guys all knew about my business and financial struggles and didn’t want to embarrass me by making a big deal over my absence. For this I was grateful.

Not much had changed for me when the 2009 event planning began this past spring. Recognizing my situation, some of the guys got together and discussed the likelihood that once again I wouldn’t be able to attend. Apparently that option was not acceptable to them. Over the summer they reached out periodically with a barter approach, quietly ensuring I’d be able to make all the deposits and payments for the trip. They even found ways to get me out on the golf course to play a bit… without any cost to me.

I can’t comment on all the reasons that Jesus brought his fellowship of men together. I can offer that He knew dark hours lay ahead when the company of trusted friends would be of great comfort. And I’m sure that the Apostles did bring a smile to His face, thus helping Him along the way. The Apostles couldn’t possibly comprehend Jesus’ trials, just as no one can completely walk in our own shoes. But having friends who look beyond their own steps to make another’s journey a little bit easier must be another one of the lessons to be learned from Christ’s example of fellowship.

Room to Chat: Lord, thank you for the comfort and grace of fellowships in my life.

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Seeing Great Things – Good News for September 29

29 09 2009

John 1:47-51

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: I’ve been watching the new Ken Burns series on America’s National Parks (The National Parks: America’s Best Idea). While nothing can fully compare to experiencing these places in person, much of their majesty is conveyed by the images captured in this film. Many of the individuals Burns interviews in the series speak of the transcendent moments that commonly occur when visitors first “experience” Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, or some of the other parks. I know this to be true as I have experienced the phenomenon myself… again and again.

John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, and countless others have commented on being transformed after seeing these places as “temples of the Creator”. They are correct. The National Parks, and many other places in the world, are truly wonders of God. It’s easy to see the hand of the Creator in them.

I have sat at the foot of the great granite monoliths of Yosemite and been humbled by my own insignificance. I have watched the sun rise and set while huddled atop peaks in the Range of Light (Muir’s name for the Sierra Nevada mountains). Recently, I attended Richard Rohr’s talk on Eco-Spirtuality (finding God in nature). Throughout my life, I have been blessed with the opportunity to experience God first hand in some of the most spectacular natural showcases on this earth. Each time I make this eco-spiritual connection, I have been filled with an overwhelming sense of peace. Words cannot begin to describe these experiences.

Jesus promises that we as believers will see great things and the opening of Heaven. If you look for His hand in nature, you can see great things all around. Perhaps even a small understanding of what the magnificence of Heaven will be.

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