Remembering Our Lessons – Good News for July 13

13 07 2010

Matthew 11:20-24

Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.

And as for you, Capernaum: Will you be exalted to heaven? You will go down to the nether world.

For if the mighty deeds done in your midst had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”

The Daily Path: What would you do differently if today was your last on earth?





Jars of Plenty – Good News for June 8

8 06 2010

Book of Kings 17:7-16

The brook near where Elijah was hiding ran dry, because no rain had fallen in the land. So the Lord said to Elijah: “Move on to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have designated a widow there to provide for you.”

He left and went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the entrance of the city, a widow was gathering sticks there; he called out to her, “Please bring me a small cupful of water to drink.”

She left to get it, and he called out after her, “Please bring along a bit of bread.”

She answered, “As the Lord, your God, lives, I have nothing baked; there is only a handful of flour in my jar and a little oil in my jug. Just now I was collecting a couple of sticks, to go in and prepare something for myself and my son; when we have eaten it, we shall die.”

Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid. Go and do as you propose. But first make me a little cake and bring it to me. Then you can prepare something for yourself and your son. For the Lord, the God of Israel, says,‘The jar of flour shall not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, until the day when the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’”

She left and did as Elijah had said. She was able to eat for a year, and Elijah and her son as well; the jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry, as the Lord had foretold through Elijah.

The Daily Path: “The jar of flour did not go empty, nor the jug of oil run dry.”

Where there is faith, there is hope.





Lessons of Love – Good News for March 8

8 03 2010

Luke 4:24-30

Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

The Daily Path: When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury.

March 8 is always a special day for me as it’s the anniversary of the birth of my grandmother, Florence. She’s been gone now for some 18 years, but on this day we reconnect. I keep “Nana” on my mind throughout the day, and her presence feels so close once again. When I look at the role models in my life, she is right at the top for many reasons, far too many to share with you here today. The one I will share is the lesson of unconditional love that filled her heart.

There was always a great sense of peace about Nana. In my experience with her, no matter what challenges life presented – and there were many – somehow she retained her composure. I never heard her yell nor did I witness those moments of rage we all seem to experience. I’m sure there were many times that she wanted to go off on someone but I only saw a woman who could pass through the midst of the moment and continue on her way. It seemed as though there was only love and forgiveness in her heart, even when she was mugged and robbed no fewer than THREE TIMES in her later life.

Nana was a convert to Catholicism and I always find her great devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus so appropriate because in her own heart was such tremendous love. I pray that in my own life I can demonstrate one tenth the love she demonstrated for others… no matter what the circumstances.

I love you Nana and miss you terribly. Thank you for the lessons of Christ you continue to teach me.





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.





Crushingly Popular – Good News for January 21

21 01 2010

Mark 3:7-12

Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples. A large number of people followed from Galilee and from Judea. Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him.

He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.” He warned them sternly not to make him known.

The Daily Path: He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him.

I somewhat reluctantly draw the comparison between what Jesus experienced and the mobs faced by early rock and roll stars, like Elvis and the Beatles. Reluctantly for two reasons: 1) Because there is no real comparison other than the crowds of followers that would do anything to get close; and, 2) The statement John Lennon made about the Beatles being “more popular than Jesus”.

All that aside, both Elvis and the Beatles were met with screaming fans, before after and during their performances. Apparently Jesus had a lot of screaming among his followers, too, but this was from the pharisees and all those unclean spirits being driven from the individuals whose bodies they occupied. And, like the musical celebrities, Jesus had to take precautions to escape being crushed by those who wanted a closer experience with Him.

I suppose the desire to get so near our heroes is just human nature. But what if those who craved to be close to Jesus had done so in the spirit? They could have gathered a thousand deep, with those in the back row equally close as those in the front row. No screaming needed. Only quiet of mind and heart would have been required to hear Jesus and draw close. Come to think of it… isn’t that all we need do today to be near Him?

By the way, where is Idumea? Sounds like something I once contracted as a lad.





Facing The Truth – Good News for August 31

31 08 2009

Luke 4:16-30

Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They also asked, “Is this not the son of Joseph?”

He said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’”

And he said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

The Daily Path: How often have I been confronted by the truth, only to be offended and attempt to drive it from my presence? But you can’t escape the truth. It always returns to dwell in your midst.

Room to Chat: Two members of my parish are seriously ill. One with pancreatic cancer. Another will have major surgery on his heart tomorrow. Please keep them in your prayers.





Outrageous Me – Good News for March 16

16 03 2009

We don’t like to hear the truth about ourselves…

Luke 4:24-30

Jesus said to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephath in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.”

When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.

The Daily Path: Luke depicts the scene where Jesus walked a gauntlet of outraged Nazarenes after he had spoken the truth. Often times we don’t like to hear the truth about ourselves. I can think of many cases were I’ve been one of the outraged. On the flip side I can also think of the numerous occasions when I haven’t had the courage to speak the truth for fear that it will make me an outcast.

Why do I fear the truth? Or should I say: Why does ME fear the truth? Ah hah! It’s that ME character again. Mr. Ego casts his long shadow once again. Go away ME. I wonder if I can go a whole day without falling victim to ME?

Room to Chat: Lord, today I ask for awareness of when ME is acting out so I can take that as a cue for a quick prayer. A prayer for acceptance of truth and for courage to speak it.