Advent Day 3 – Good News for November 30

30 11 2010

St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 10:9-13

Brothers and sisters,

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.

The Scripture says, No one who believes in him will be put to shame. There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

The Daily Path: Remember your best friend from childhood? Have you lost touch over the years with that someone who was once joined to your hip? Has a silly squabble kept you apart? Imagine the joy that could be rekindled through a simple outreach. No strings attached. The gift of friendship is more valuable than anything in the Neiman Marcus catalog. Forgive and forget this season of Advent.





The Money-Changers – Good News for November 9

9 11 2010

John 2:13-22

Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money-changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”

His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me. At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”

The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his Body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.

The Daily Path: John provides an insight to the angry Jesus. I don’t sell oxen, goats or doves, but at times I do forget my place before God in the pursuit of material things. I wonder if Jesus loses his patience with me in those money-changer moments. If he does, I’m certain of one thing… the doors to His temple will remain open to me and forgiveness always follows. Will you be a money-changer today or a temple builder?





Stirring the Flame – Good News for June 2

2 06 2010

Mark 12:18-27

Some Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Jesus and put this question to him, saying, “Teacher, Moses wrote for us, If someone’s brother dies, leaving a wife but no child, his brother must take the wife and raise up descendants for his brother.

Now there were seven brothers. The first married a woman and died, leaving no descendants. So the second brother married her and died, leaving no descendants, and the third likewise. And the seven left no descendants. Last of all the woman also died. At the resurrection when they arise whose wife will she be? For all seven had been married to her.”

Jesus said to them, “Are you not misled because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God? When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven.

As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?

He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled.”

The Daily Path: From the second letter of St. Timothy (1:6-8) … 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.





Perennials – Good News for May 26

26 05 2010

Peter 1:23-25

You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God, for:

“All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the field; the grass withers, and the flower wilts; but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.

The Daily Path: During the past few years there has been one constant in my life: the Good News. In that period I have been born and reborn several times. It’s very much like the life cycle for some of the wild flowers that surround my home. Each spring new sprouts emerge from the ground, blossom, wither, and die, only to re-emerge again the following spring. Although they have a relatively short life above ground, their roots remain in place in the soil. Many of those systems expand leading to even more flowers in subsequent years.

The word of the Lord – in the form of daily readings – has been the soil for my roots. It has led me to even deeper awareness of God in my life. Like wild flowers, each new awareness is replaced by another, followed by yet another. And so it goes. The Good News has enabled my roots to expand as I come in contact with other travelers who have embraced God in their journey.

I know that St. Peter speaks the truth. No matter what my life cycle may bring, the word of the Lord remains forever.

Take “the cycle” for a test drive and see for yourself.





Accompany Him – Good News for March 30

30 03 2010

John 13:21-38

Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, “Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” The disciples looked at one another, at a loss as to whom he meant.

One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus’ side. So Simon Peter nodded to him to find out whom he meant. He leaned back against Jesus’ chest and said to him, “Master, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it.” So he dipped the morsel and took it and handed it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot.

After Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him. So Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.”

Now none of those reclining at table realized why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas kept the money bag, Jesus had told him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or to give something to the poor. So Judas took the morsel and left at once. And it was night.

When he had left, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him at once. My children, I will be with you only a little while longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, ‘Where I go you cannot come,’ so now I say it to you.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.”

Peter said to him, “Master, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.”

The Daily Path: In my final reflection on Jonathan Burstein’s amazing painting titled “Church” I want to think of this man sitting on the steps as Judas. Once brought close to the light of Christ, he now finds himself outside facing the dark journey that awaits him. The glow of Christ remains on Judas back, and will do so even as he betrays the love of Jesus. As we know, this will be the final torment on earth for Judas, who will ultimately take his own life.

This is a troubling image for me. No matter how bad things get in my life or how weak I am, I pray that I will never forget God’s love. Even if I “deny Him” I pray that somehow I will always find the strength to turn back into the light of Christ and ask His forgiveness.

The accounts we’ve read over the past few weeks provide so much food for thought. As with any great story, we are led to the end yearning for deeper insights and understanding. The readings of Holy Week are so powerful. Full of symbolism and meaning. This is truly the “Greatest Story Ever Told” and each of us are a part of it. For the remainder of Holy Week 2010, I encourage you to take time to walk with Jesus in Scripture. Accompany Him during these hours. Follow the Son to the Father and see what unfolds in your life.

Turn towards His light.

Church by Jonathan Burstein





Sanhedrin – Good News for March 27

27 03 2010

John 11:45-56

Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.”

But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.” He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to kill him. So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples.

Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves. They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?”

The Daily Path: Today I have to consult my Scripture for Dummies Process – aka: Google. When reading the Gospel I often find terms that I know absolutely nothing about… yes, yes, I hear you… I should have paid closer attention during my twelve years of parochial school! Today’s Google quest: What was the Sanhedrin?

According to Shira Schoenberg of The Jewish Virtual Library, the Sanhedrin was the ancient Jewish court system. The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme religious body in the Land of Israel during the time of the Holy Temple. It dealt with religious and ritualistic Temple matters, criminal matters appertaining to the secular court, trials of adulterous wives, tithes, preparation of Torah Scrolls, drawing up the calendar and the solving of difficulties relating to ritual law. It was the final authority on Jewish law and any scholar who went against its decisions was put to death as a rebellious elder. The Sanhedrin judged accused lawbreakers, but could not initiate arrests. It required a minimum of two witnesses to convict a suspect. There were no attorneys. Instead, the accusing witness stated the offense in the presence of the accused and the accused could call witnesses on his own behalf. The court questioned the accused, the accusers and the defense witnesses.

I hope this helps as we move into Holy Week and read of what Jesus will have to endure.

Church by Jonathan Burstein





Seeking Praise – Good News for March 18

18 03 2010

John 5:31-47

Jesus said to the Jews, “If I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is not true. But there is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that the testimony he gives on my behalf is true. You sent emissaries to John, and he testified to the truth. I do not accept human testimony, but I say this so that you may be saved. He was a burning and shining lamp, and for a while you were content to rejoice in his light. But I have testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.

But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent. You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life.

“I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you. I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?

Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father: the one who will accuse you is Moses, in whom you have placed your hope.
For if you had believed Moses, you would have believed me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe his writings,
how will you believe my words?”

The Daily Path: “How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?”

Driven. Relentless pursuit of success. Stature. Acceptance. These are a few of the things that come to mind when I read this passage from today’s Gospel. I know them because they have been a part of my being. For most of my life, going back to a very early age, I have yearned for the acceptance of others. In that pursuit I have led a very shallow life. I gladly accept praise from my brothers and sisters in an attempt to heal what Fr. Richard Rohr would call my “woundedness”, but only now do I see the false self behind this.

In recent times I have come to know the road that so many millions travel each day. Need, anxiety, and despair fill the vast majority of lives on earth, but they have never been part of my experience. In my life I have never known real worry. I have never truly held the hands that reached out to me in deepest despair. But now God has given me the chance to walk in the shoes of my brothers and sisters. And in doing so, He has begun to remove the false self that has prevented me from embracing the leper.

But why has He done this?

I can’t completely answer that. I’m still in the midst of it and have little perspective to analyze the situation – See? I’m still analyzing instead of trusting His plan! – But since I am an imperfect being, I will indulge my imperfection and offer this analysis: Perhaps God is taking me down this road to activate the radical grace within me, so that I will finally stop pursuing the acceptance of others (in all its forms) and start pursuing the only acceptance that matters… the praise of my Father in heaven.

Room to Chat: Father, you are allowing me to touch the wounds of your Son, the Christ. In doing so you have given me the ability to believe in You as never before. Continue to give me, and all who travel down this road, the courage and resolve to continue onward. Keep us in your light so that we may always see the way to You.