HELPLINE – Good News for May 27

27 05 2010

Mark 10:46-52

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.

Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

The Daily Path: Join me in reflecting on these two questions: What is my first response when I need help? Where is my helpline?

Room to Chat: Lord, I want to see.





Giving Up – Good News for May 25

25 05 2010

Mark 10:28-31

Peter began to say to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.”

Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

The Daily Path: I have been blessed with the company of many fellow travelers on my spiritual journey home. A good number of them are right here in my parish comprised of two spirituality groups I participate in. We gather together on a regular basis to openly share what we are experiencing along the way. Some of our discussion focuses on the challenges we all face in living the teaching of Christ and following his example.

Some of the most poignant moments in our gatherings relate to “giving up” the false self to embrace or enable the true self. We live in a fairly affluent area and are surrounded by the trappings of wealth and material success. With that comes some heavy baggage and pressure to uphold a certain image. Despite outward appearances many in this community are deeply wounded inside. Part of the fellowship the men in our spirituality groups share is based on allowing ourselves to give up the facade and expose our wounds to each other. I believe this is also part of what Jesus is explaining to us in today’s Gospel when he talks about giving up.

Yesterday, when I chose to openly share with GNTG readers the fact that I suffer from a disease, I was giving up the pretense of invulnerability. By giving up the lie – that I was in control – I was freed from a great burden. I started to feel lighter as I accepted my weakness and saw how others accepted my woundedness. I grew stronger as I received amazing signs of support throughout the day. The death of one thing brought new life to something else. My story is just one tiny example of how “giving up” the false self brings us closer to the one truth – God.

As Christians we uphold the ultimate symbol of woundedness – Jesus on the cross. After his death, when Jesus returned to his friends, did he say “Hey, look at me! I’m the almighty Son of God who can overcome everything, including death!”?

No.

The first thing Jesus did was to draw them close, open his robe and reveal his wounds.

Giving up draws us closer.

Room to Chat: Father, thank you for inspiring so many to live your commandment of love. The outpouring of genuine support I’ve experienced in the past week has been nothing short of miraculous. Though sometimes we walk in valley of the shadow, we are never alone. Truly, all things are possible through you.





Loved – Good News for May 20

20 05 2010

John 17:20-26

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying, “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.

Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

Room to Chat: Father, I know that I am loved by you. I know the challenge you have sent my way is in your plan. I accept your will, knowing that the road you’ve placed before me will again help me to draw closer to you. Truly, I am not alone in this. You are with me. You are my hope.

Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge; I say to the Lord, “My Lord are you.” O Lord, my allotted portion and my cup, you it is who hold fast my lot.

I bless the Lord who counsels me; even in the night my heart exhorts me. I set the Lord ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices, my body, too, abides in confidence; Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world, nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.

You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever. (Psalms 16)





Our Mothers – Good News for May 9

9 05 2010

John 14:23-29

Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.

“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.”

The Daily Path: Today is Sunday and Mother’s Day. Let’s honor our Father today by holding close all those who He has called to provide a mother’s love to us in this life.

To all my Moms – I love you!





Don’t Worry – Good News for April 30

30 04 2010

John 14:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.”

Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”

Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The Daily Path: As I look for ways to deliver on God’s recent request that I “tell His stories”, I’ve decided to give Twitter a try as an additional GNTG distribution channel. The difference is that Tweets are limited to 140-characters. What this means is I now have to get right to the kernel of the message… fast.

Perhaps those of you who are among the uber-busy will find this Scripture lite approach is a better way for you to stay connected. We’ll see how it goes! You can test it out or subscribe by selecting the link below. You can also see the latest GNTG Tweets on the GNTG home page in the upper right hand corner.

“Remember, God… you asked me to figure this out! Don’t shoot the messenger until AFTER I find the best approach.”

Tell my stories





Feeling His Voice – Good News for April 24

24 04 2010

John 6:60-69

Many of the disciples of Jesus who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.”

Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”

As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer walked with him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe  and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

The Daily Path: Yesterday, I had another visit from God.

“Wahoo! Martha, come quick. The blogging crackpot is going to tell us about another one of his experiences with the Almighty. This one ought to be a doozy!”

Stan, you are correct. It was a “doozy” as you put it. It’s the third time in my life when I have felt God speak directly to me. I say felt because I do not hear His voice as we hear a bird singing outside the window. Yet He used words to reach me that were just as clear, just as audible. This is what I felt Him say to me…

“Tell my stories.”

This event occurred during Mass at Christ the Light Cathedral in Oakland. I find this interesting because the building has been much maligned for several reasons, including the high cost of construction at a time when many felt the money could be used elsewhere. I won’t enter into that debate here. I only share the venue because God chose a place to talk with me that – up until then – had seemed cold, uninviting and anything but about His light.

My response to God was “Okay. I’ll tell your stories, but you have to take care of my family.”

“Martha! You’re missing the good stuff. Now he’s making demands on God!”

Imagine that, Stan. God asks me to do something and I’m putting conditions on it. Well, not really conditions. You see, I’ll do what God asks and put my faith in Him that we will be provided for.

Once again, Saul’s journey to Damascus has come to life for me. Was it mere coincidence that yesterday’s reading was Acts 9:1-20? I don’t think so. There is no “Coincidence” page in God’s playbook. Seems more likely that I was being reminded of the second time I felt His words – the time I felt God call me by name and ask, “Why are you ignoring me?”

Friends, I share my experiences so that you might find hope along the journey. If God can pick out a flawed mess of a man like me from the crowd – pick me me up, dust me off, and set me back on the way home – imagine what He can do for you.

Keep me in your prayers as I reflect on God’s conversation with me. I think I know what He wants. Now I must open my eyes and ears fully to be aware of what unfolds before me. This is how I will come to understand the steps I am to take in doing what has been asked of me. I feel the next part of my journey is about to begin.

“Master, I go to you. You are the words of eternal life. I have come to believe  and am convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Room to Chat: Father, today my oldest daughter will join the banquet with your Son as she receives her First Communion. Please keep her close so that the light of Christ will always guide her way. May her heart be open to your voice within as she walks along the path.





The True Promise – Good News for April 21

21 04 2010

John 6:35-40

Jesus said to the crowds, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. But I told you that although you have seen me, you do not believe. Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me, because I came down from heaven not to do my own will but the will of the one who sent me. And this is the will of the one who sent me, that I should not lose anything of what he gave me, but that I should raise it on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”

The Daily Path: Earlier this week, a good friend and fellow traveler in the journey shared in confidence the struggle that he and his family are coping with. They are experiencing pain that I pray I never have to feel in my own life. As he described the circumstances, I was vividly reminded that man will let us down, but God won’t.

More and more I’m allowed to witness our inherent weakness. Even those closest to us will ultimately fail to provide what we need. Often the trust we place in them will be betrayed. Jesus experienced this time and again with those he deeply loved in his time of earth. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised when this happens to us. However, we should put our faith in the one true promise, the real hope, that God provides each of us in His Son.

Everyone and everything else will fail in time, but I believe in God’s promise, that through His Son, I will find eternal life at the end of my journey. Of this I am certain… He will not let me down.

Room to Chat: Father, there is one among us who needs the Spirit to deal with the challenges he currently faces on earth. Some whom he has looked to in this life have let him down. Bring Your grace to life in this man and his family so they may find hope in Your truth and strength in the promise of Your Son, Jesus, the Christ. At the same time, may they also find the power of forgiveness, just as Jesus demonstrated when those He loved on earth let Him down.