Advent Day 4 – Good News for December 1

1 12 2010

Matthew 15:39-37

At that time: Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the mountain, and sat down there. Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them. The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel.

Jesus summoned his disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, for they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them away hungry, for fear they may collapse on the way.” The disciples said to him, “Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?”

Jesus said to them, “How many loaves do you have?” “Seven,” they replied, “and a few fish.” He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full.

The Daily Path: I used to think of miracles as the rarest of big events – like feeding a multitude with just a few fish and loves. Now I have come to see that miracles are also small actions that render an equally big impact in someone’s life. Restoration of sight isn’t only related to vision through one’s eyes. Feeding the hungry isn’t just about filling the stomach. Money isn’t the only means to lift someone off the ground. Advent is the time to consider how we, too, can create miracles in the life of another. Far reaching miracles that will touch us as well. Let your heart be moved.

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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?





Ephphatha! – Good News for February 12

12 02 2010

Mark 7:31-37

Jesus left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him. He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (“Be opened!”) And immediately the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.

He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it. They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

The Daily Path: This is one of my favorite passages in the Gospel. “He makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” We also know that He makes the blind see. And in these words I see a nice analogy for the wonder of accepting God into our life.

When I finally re-embraced God after so many years, I was able to “experience” my weakness, and, as some would say, my woundedness. In this ongoing experience, God provides me with the ability to overcome them. Through Him, my eyes were opened. I’ve been given the ability to see the problems in my life from a new perspective and accept them. This isn’t SuperVision because I still miss a lot, but at least my eyes are open to seeing what I once ignored… or perhaps a better way to put that is: to see what I once hid from. And, by opening my ears to hear the Word of God, I am better able to open my mouth and reclaim the voice that will bring about change in my life.

Enjoy these passages! They illustrate the miraculous healing that God provides when we are willing to “open” ourselves to Him. Is it any wonder that the people Jesus touched couldn’t keep their mouths shut about these miracles? They were truly moved by the Good News each experienced! And so am I.





Casting Call – Good News for January 11

11 01 2010

Mark 1:14-20

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the Gospel of God, “This is the time of fulfillment. The Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the Gospel.”

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Then they left their nets and followed him. He walked along a little farther and saw James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John.

The Daily Path: Are you open to the daily call of Christ?

In today’s Gospel we learn that Simon, Andrew, James and John were personally invited to join Jesus. All dropped what they were doing to follow Him.

At some point during this day, and again tomorrow, I know that I, too, will be called in some way to follow His teaching. Hopefully, in these moments, I will hear the call and be willing to drop my net and act.





Immediate Surrender – Good News for November 30

30 11 2009

Matthew 4:18-22

As Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter, and his brother Andrew, casting a net into the sea; they were fishermen. He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him.

The Daily Path: Peter, Andrew, James and John. Four men, who, with nothing more than an invitation, immediately surrendered their lives to follow Christ.

Room To Chat: Lord, show me the way. Let the example of your disciples resonate in my mind and heart. Fill me with your grace.

 





Squalls – Good News for June 21

21 06 2009

Mark 4:35-41

On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us cross to the other side.”

Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up.

Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”

He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet!  Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”

They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”

The Daily Path: Happy Fathers Day to all the dads in the audience, and the mothers who’s circumstances require they do double duty as a father.

Being a father can be terrifying at times. Not that our children are the storm, although they have their moments. But being a parent has obligations. We must to take care of the family by providing a home, food, clothing, education, healthcare, life examples, discipline, and most of all love.

In these days the squall seems to be all around us growing ever worse. For so many, including myself, it’s all we can do to keep bailing out the little boat so we can stay afloat and keep our family safe. And that for a father is the terror.

It’s during these most difficult times that we feel overwhelmed and run to the stern in a panic. “Teacher wake up! We’re sinking! HELP ME!”

And what does Jesus teach us about these challenges?

To have faith in Him. Believe that God is with us in the most violent of storms.

Of course, we are going to be scared. We’re human. We’re flawed. We also want to care for our families so they don’t have to suffer. I don’t believe that God wants His children to suffer either. That’s why He sent His son, Jesus, to save us from eternal suffering.

Let’s keep today’s Gospel in mind during the days ahead. We’re not alone in this squall. Jesus is with us. And remember… with the Father, all things are possible! 

Room to Chat: Lord, you command the wind and the sea. Calm our minds in this storm and send the Holy Spirit to bring inner peace to all who need it.





One Tiny Fish – Good News for April 24

24 04 2009

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: Abundance where once only scarcity existed.

Sharing is one of the miracles of keeping Christ in our daily life and the opportunity to live His teaching. Sharing what we have with someone in need, is nothing short of miraculous for those on the receiving end. Even after reading John’s gospel our inner Stan Doubtsall may ask, “How can my one tiny fish make a difference when need is so great?” You’d be amazed at how far the metaphorical loaf or fish can go when there is nothing else.

What’s in my closet that will never see the light of day, yet could provide a job seeker the professional appearance that enables them to get a job? What have I hoarded that will never be touched in the next ten years, yet in the hands of someone else will be a life changing tool? Will I even notice a dollar or two donated to Catholic Charities, Salvation Army or any number of agencies that provide shelter to people with no other place to turn, that could keep them off the street and out of harms way the night they otherwise would have been beaten will sleeping in an alley? What about my time? Can I offer just a few hours of my time and skill that could in turn impact someone’s life forever?  

If I take a good look, I’ll see the demographic of need has shifted significantly. It’s not someone who lives on the “other side of the tracks.” It’s that family I once saw at the country club. The former manager who is now selling every possession just to feed his family while he struggles to find a job… any job. That person may even be me.

Trust me friends, now is the time that we all need to take a hard look at that little fish and tiny loaf in our basket to see how we can perform miracles of our own.

Room to Chat: (Psalms 34:19-20) The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves. Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the Lord delivers him. The Lord hears the cry of the poor… let’s open our ears today and hear.