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