Shepherds of Advent – Good News for December 5

5 12 2009

Matthew 9:35-10:1

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.”

Then he summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.

Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”

The Daily Path: Will you tend to any “lost sheep” during Advent?





Saving Faith – Good News for September 17

17 09 2009

Luke 7:36-50

A certain Pharisee invited Jesus to dine with him, and he entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. Now there was a sinful woman in the city who learned that he was at table in the house of the Pharisee. Bringing an alabaster flask of ointment, she stood behind him at his feet weeping and began to bathe his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and anointed them with the ointment.

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, that she is a sinner.”

Jesus said to him in reply, “Simon, I have something to say to you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

“Two people were in debt to a certain creditor; one owed five hundred days’ wages and the other owed fifty. Since they were unable to repay the debt, he forgave it for both. Which of them will love him more?”

Simon said in reply, “The one, I suppose, whose larger debt was forgiven.”

He said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? When I entered your house, you did not give me water for my feet, but she has bathed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but she has not ceased kissing my feet since the time I entered. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she anointed my feet with ointment. So I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”

He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” The others at table said to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

But he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

The Daily Path: I want to share this passage from Timothy 4:12-26 as it has great meaning to me personally.

Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe, in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity. Until I arrive, attend to the reading, exhortation, and teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands by the presbyterate.

Be diligent in these matters, be absorbed in them, so that your progress may be evident to everyone. Attend to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in both tasks, for by doing so you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.

In recent days I have felt a little disconnected. I can’t explain why as I don’t understand it myself. But then again, I don’t need to rationalize, nor should I. The good news is that right on schedule, God sent me a little reminder this morning through St. Paul’s pastoral epistle to Timothy. I’m reminded to “be diligent” and “persevere” along my spiritual journey and continue what I have been inspired to do.

I’m not special in this reminder. We all feel disconnected at times. And God reminds us all to remain diligent and persevere in our faith… so that we will be saved.

Room to Chat: Father, thank you for holding me close. Continue to shepherd me in the true direction. Keep this reminder fresh in my mind and heart.

our_lady2





I Know That Voice – Good News for May 4

3 05 2009

John 10:1-10

Jesus said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice. But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.”

Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

The Daily Path: I remember my parents telling me “Never open the door to our house if you don’t first ask who it is and can recognize the voice on the other side.” I didn’t realize at the time they were also sharing advice for the spiritual journey ahead.

When God spoke to me, calling me back home to the Church, I knew His voice immediately. I didn’t hear him through my ears, but God spoke to my heart with a voice as distinctive as that of Walter Cronkite or Barbara Walters. It was a warm,  familiar call that didn’t require an ID check. I knew who was on the other side of the door… it was my shepherd and I instinctively followed his call.

As you listen to life, listen for the voice you instantly recognize to be true. And for all the others you have cause to doubt… Don’t open the door! 

Room to Chat: I took my boys to see the new Disney movie Earth. It had some remarkable cinematic moments capturing the cycle of life and death on our planet. As I watched I found myself thinking about someone who gave their life so that others to follow would live. Find a moment today to look around and see God in the miracles of life and death that surround you each and every day. His plan is everywhere if take time to see.





What’s My Line? – Good News for March 2

2 03 2009

The line on the left or the line on the right? 

Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus said to his disciples, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’

And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’

Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’

He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

The Daily Path: One thing I would like to improve during Lent is my ability to see the face of God in others around me. All too often I can only see another human form. Most of the time I’m so wrapped up in ME that I’m blind and deaf. Even so close to home as with my own wife and children. I don’t care to join that line on the left of God with all the other Me-Me-Me-Me sopranos.

Do you have five minutes today to just investigate where the line is forming to God’s right? If you believe in the God of Abraham, or even if you don’t, what harm is there in at least considering how to feed, cloth and comfort another who is desperately in need? It can be a one time only event. A mere peek at what’s going on.

Or you can say, “I’m in. I want to try this.”

The line on the right forms in countless ways. It’s next to the cardboard shanty you see everyday under an overpass. It’s as close as next to your best friend who needs a little help during a tough time. You can seek out the line forming through a formal organization like Catholic Charities or Doctors Without Borders or an inner city shelter. Or it’s with that little start-up, Me, Inc. that has been so busy investing in itself that it’s lost sight of God in the faces surrounding it. 

Will it be the line on the left or the line on the right? The choice is ours.

Room to Chat: Lord God, give me the courage to open my eyes today and see your face in the world around me. Allow me to open my heart and mind. Enable me to use my hands in the service of others.





Good News on Jesus Birthday

25 12 2008

Luke 2: 15-20

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”

So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.

And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God  for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.

The Daily Path: On this day of celebration I pray that all who attend Mass will be deeply touched by Jesus and inspired by the Spirit to return again on Sunday. And the following Sunday. And the Sunday after that. And again. And again. 

A light will shine on us this day: the Lord is born for us.

Merry Christmas, my friends.





Finding the Little Ones- Good News for December 9

9 12 2008

Matthew 18: 12-24

Jesus said to his disciples, “What is your opinion? If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray? And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not stray. 

In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father that one of these little ones be lost.” 

The Daily Path: One of my Advent prayers is that during this Christmas season some of the stray “little ones” will be inspired to look up and see their shepherd. He found this stray.





At No Cost – Good News for December 6

6 12 2008

Matthew 9:35 – 10:8

Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” 

Then he summoned his Twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out
and to cure every disease and every illness. Jesus sent out these Twelve after instructing them thus, “Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” 

The Daily Path: I marvel at the timing of when these readings come into my life. I’m just one tiny speck in the scheme of things, yet it’s as though today at this very moment God’s master plan called for me to connect with the inspired words of Matthew! My mind can’t comprehend the mechanism that could possibly do such, but I believe that is exactly what’s in play. 

Here is another one of Our Lord’s messages of love and mercy that we are all called to. Like these lost sheep, I too am troubled. I seek the shepherd. I know he will provide. And I know that in turn, I am called to labor on his behalf and give back freely of what has been given to me.

Wow!

Advent Meditation: Blessed are all who wait for the Lord