Human Think – Good News for August 5

5 08 2010

Matthew 16:13-23

Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi and he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took Jesus aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord!  No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!  You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

The Daily Path: Human think is an obstacle in my life as it must be for many. I recently told a good friend that I feel closest to God when I am suffering. It’s then that I seem to get beyond the constant rationalization and desire for control. In those moments I am able to just say “I give up.”

“Giving up” in human think is failure. Instant relegation to the bottom of the heap. You can’t be a Mad Man if you can’t succeed. You can’t climb the pinnacle of earthly achievement if you fail. That’s what human think would lead us to believe.

But what about giving up in God think? We don’t say “give down”, the term is “give UP” Where did Jesus go when he returned to the Father? He ascended, He went UP. Jesus looked UP to his Father… Jesus held UP the bread…

In those moments of worldly defeat and suffering when we give ourselves UP to accept His will over ours, isn’t that the time when we ascend into God think?





The Faithkeeper – Good News for June 29

29 06 2010

Matthew 16:13-19

When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

The Daily Path: Who do I say that Jesus is?

Although I had the benefit of knowing the tradition of faith, handed down for over 2,000 years, I didn’t fully embrace Jesus as the Son of the living God until late in life. And even then it took some true acts of God to awaken the fire within me. Having this experience in my own life makes Simon Peter’s understanding even more remarkable. He knew our Lord and Savior before witnessing any of the events we now hold true as followers of Christ.

Room to Chat: Jesus, if it is your will, show me how I can be more like Peter, your faithkeeper, in my daily life.





Breakfast Club – Good News for May 21

21 05 2010

John 21:15-19

After Jesus had revealed himself to his disciples and eaten breakfast with them, he said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

He then said to Simon Peter a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”

Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”

He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.”





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.





Eucharist – Good News for April 9

9 04 2010

John 21:1-14

Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.

Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We also will come with you.”

So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. When it was already dawn, Jesus was standing on the shore; but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.”

So he said to them, “Cast the net over the right side of the boat and you will find something.” So they cast it, and were not able to pull it in because of the number of fish. So the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.”

When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he tucked in his garment, for he was lightly clad, and jumped into the sea. The other disciples came in the boat, for they were not far from shore, only about a hundred yards, dragging the net with the fish. When they climbed out on shore, they saw a charcoal fire with fish on it and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.”

So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come, have breakfast.”

And none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they realized it was the Lord. Jesus came over and took the bread and gave it to them, and in like manner the fish. This was now the third time Jesus was revealed to his disciples after being raised from the dead.

The Daily Path: Once again I feel compelled to remind you that I am not an expert in the Eucharistic tradition, and certainly not an accredited Biblical scholar. What I share is often simplistic, but it is my experience and always presented from the heart. In today’s Good News column, John tells us how Jesus again shares bread with his friends. I believe this is the third time in a week we have been given witness to a banquet of thanksgiving.

In many ways I think Jesus provided the groundwork for time tested Madison Avenue strategies – Tell the consumer what you want them to remember (do). Tell them again. Then tell them again. Jesus is a master of this. In the Gospel we are constantly reminded of what God wants of us. And it’s clear in these inspired passages we are being asked to share bread. “Do this in memory of me.” And, as Jesus models in today’s reading, we are asked to do more than just sit around the table and receive our “daily bread”. We are also asked to do the serving.

In recent weeks I have been working on two video production projects for Catholic Charities East Bay and the Diocese of Oakland. In both projects I have been brought in direct contact with both “servers” and “receivers” of the bread. I can only speculate why God is leading me down this path – and although I’m anxious for the answer to “why?” I’m trying to just observe carefully, trusting the answer will come. However, I can share what I have been privileged to witness. Thus I can definitively state that the experiences of both “server” and “receiver” are transformational. Here is what I mean:

Individuals who have received desperately needed assistance through various social justice programs – such as programs focusing on homelessness and immigration – are so moved by the experience that they themselves take up the cause so that others, equally in need, may also be helped. Men and woman, who before the economic crisis never would have imagined being in dire need of assistance, are receiving bread through these programs that keep the banks from foreclosing on mortgages, or that provide rapid deployment housing to keep once prospering individuals off the streets and out of an escalating downward spiral. This receiver experience is often so powerful, that the same individuals who were once terrified of giving public witness, are suddenly willing to step forward and become advocates. Men put ego aside and publicly share their weakness. Mothers find a voice in themselves strong enough to stand up to Wall Street. Children willing to take a four day bus trip across country – in the company of strangers – become family along the way, then sit with Congress and the President with the courage to open their hands, not in calling for handouts, but as an extension towards dialogue and understanding. The receivers have become the servers.

Truly, Christ calls us to share in the Eucharist as both receiver and server. But it’s not a Catholic thing or a just Christian thing. This bread is meant to be shared by all of God’s children.





He Has Risen – Good News for Easter Sunday

4 04 2010

John 20:19

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”

So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.

When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place. Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.

The Daily Path: Today is Easter. Go and find Him. He’s waiting for us.

Dear Friends,

Thank you for sharing the journey with me each day. May this Easter be the beginning of something incredible in our lives. I pray that our hearts will be filled with hope in Christ and always open to our Father’s love as we travel home.

Kin





Good News for Good Friday

2 04 2010

John 18:1 – 19:42

Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered. Judas his betrayer also knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. So Judas got a band of soldiers and guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees and went there with lanterns, torches, and weapons.

Jesus, knowing everything that was going to happen to him, went out and said to them, “Whom are you looking for?” They answered him, “Jesus the Nazorean.” He said to them, “I AM.” Judas his betrayer was also with them. When he said to them, “I AM, “ they turned away and fell to the ground.

So he again asked them, “Whom are you looking for?” They said, “Jesus the Nazorean.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I AM. So if you are looking for me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill what he had said, “I have not lost any of those you gave me.”

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it, struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its scabbard. Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?”

So the band of soldiers, the tribune, and the Jewish guards seized Jesus, bound him, and brought him to Annas first. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had counseled the Jews that it was better that one man should die rather than the people.

Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. Now the other disciple was known to the high priest, and he entered the courtyard of the high priest with Jesus. But Peter stood at the gate outside. So the other disciple, the acquaintance of the high priest, went out and spoke to the gatekeeper and brought Peter in. Then the maid who was the gatekeeper said to Peter, “You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.”

Now the slaves and the guards were standing around a charcoal fire that they had made, because it was cold, and were warming themselves. Peter was also standing there keeping warm. The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his doctrine. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken publicly to the world. I have always taught in a synagogue or in the temple area where all the Jews gather, and in secret I have said nothing. Why ask me? Ask those who heard me what I said to them. They know what I said.”

When he had said this, one of the temple guards standing there struck Jesus and said, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing there keeping warm. And they said to him, “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the one whose ear Peter had cut off, said, “Didn’t I see you in the garden with him?” Again Peter denied it. And immediately the cock crowed.

Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium. It was morning. And they themselves did not enter the praetorium, in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and said, “What charge do you bring against this man?” They answered and said to him, “If he were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.”

At this, Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law.” The Jews answered him, “We do not have the right to execute anyone,“ in order that the word of Jesus might be fulfilled that he said indicating the kind of death he would die.

So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”

Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”

So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say I am a king. For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” When he had said this, he again went out to the Jews and said to them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at Passover. Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”

They cried out again, “Not this one but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. And the soldiers wove a crown out of thorns and placed it on his head, and clothed him in a purple cloak, and they came to him and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck him repeatedly.

Once more Pilate went out and said to them, “Look, I am bringing him out to you, so that you may know that I find no guilt in him.”

So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple cloak. And he said to them, “Behold, the man!” When the chief priests and the guards saw him they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!”

Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him. I find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”

Now when Pilate heard this statement, he became even more afraid, and went back into the praetorium and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” Jesus did not answer him. So Pilate said to him, “Do you not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me if it had not been given to you from above. For this reason the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”

Consequently, Pilate tried to release him; but the Jews cried out, “If you release him, you are not a Friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus out and seated him on the judge’s bench in the place called Stone Pavement, in Hebrew, Gabbatha. It was preparation day for Passover, and it was about noon. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your king!” They cried out, “Take him away, take him away!  Crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus, and, carrying the cross himself, he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle. Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.”

Now many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews’.” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be,“ in order that the passage of Scripture might be fulfilled that says: They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots. This is what the soldiers did.

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.

(Friends, please pause for a moment of reflection)

Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and that they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. An eyewitness has testified, and his testimony is true; he knows that he is speaking the truth, so that you also may come to believe. For this happened so that the Scripture passage might be fulfilled: Not a bone of it will be broken. And again another passage says: They will look upon him whom they have pierced.

After this, Joseph of Arimathea, secretly a disciple of Jesus for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate if he could remove the body of Jesus. And Pilate permitted it. So he came and took his body. Nicodemus, the one who had first come to him at night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about one hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and bound it with burial cloths along with the spices, according to the Jewish burial custom. Now in the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried. So they laid Jesus there because of the Jewish preparation day; for the tomb was close by.