Potholes – Good News for November 27

27 11 2010

Luke 21:34-36

Jesus said to his disciples, “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man.”

The Daily Path: Note to Management: “I would appreciate  large “Road Under Repair” signs be installed at regular intervals along this journey.”

Maybe it’s just my driving, but I seem to hit a lot of the potholes that frequent this highway. It’s not just the obvious vices that line the road, equally dangerous is the spiritual lethargy that sometimes trips us. It’s not unlike Thanksgiving dinner. You hit the table running, filled with enthusiasm and joy. Then 20 minutes after you stuff yourself, you’ve had enough family engagement and fall asleep on Aunt Winnie’s shoulder, deep in a turkey comma.

The spiritual journey has distractions. There are peaks and valleys. Sometimes I feel very close to God. Other times I’m in the back row dosing off. We’re not perfectly enlightened beings. We’re not Porsches speeding along the Autobahn able to reach our destination in a few hours. We’re more like Russian made Volgas, spitting out black exhaust, losing hubcaps and tailpipes with each pothole hit, as we creep ever closer to home on the back alleys of Leningrad.

At the very least I need to aspire to drive out of the potholes, keep my engine chugging along – one filling station at a time. It’s never easy, but I’ll get there.





Sinwatch – Good News for November 8

8 11 2010

Luke 17:1-6

Jesus said to his disciples, “Things that cause sin will inevitably occur, but woe to the one through whom they occur. It would be better for him if a millstone were put around his neck and he be thrown into the sea than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he wrongs you seven times in one day and returns to you seven times saying, ‘I am sorry,’ you should forgive him.”

And the Apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith.” The Lord replied, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

The Daily Path: Have I caused someone to sin or sinned against another?

When reading this passage I tend to think about BIG SIN instead of little sin. However, it strikes me that causing or bringing about “little sin” may be more prevalent than I’m even aware of. And in the scheme of things is a sin a sin or is there truly magnitude of sin? Murder/molestation vs lie/cheat? Perhaps this is another reason that Jesus reminds us to be on guard. Not just projecting onto others, but starting with ourselves.





Christ the Light – Good News for March 24

24 03 2010

John 8:31-42

Jesus said to those Jews who believed in him, “If you remain in my word, you will truly be my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How can you say, ‘You will become free’?”

Jesus answered them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.
A slave does not remain in a household forever, but a son always remains. So if the Son frees you, then you will truly be free. I know that you are descendants of Abraham. But you are trying to kill me,
because my word has no room among you. I tell you what I have seen in the Father’s presence; then do what you have heard from the Father.”

They answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.”

Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works of Abraham. But now you are trying to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God; Abraham did not do this. You are doing the works of your father!”

So they said to him, “We were not born of fornication. We have one Father, God.”

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and am here;
I did not come on my own, but he sent me.”

The Daily Path: I believe that Jesus is a beacon of light. His light guides those who are able to see it towards the home of our Father. I also believe His church has the obligation to shine its light for that very purpose. When I say church, I don’t mean the structure. I mean the community of faith that is the true church. Each of us.

Take another look at Mr. Burstein’s painting below. Imagine for a moment that the light emitted through the opening was instead coming from the hearts of men and women. Instead of a church building, imagine many people standing behind the man we see sitting on the steps. What if this was the light of your own heart warming the darkness for someone you meet along the journey?

Now imagine our own luminance being boosted by the radiance of Christ’s light. What if we allowed that light to touch all those around us like walking lighthouses? Would anyone be left sitting outside in the dark?

Church by Jonathan Burstein





Living Under Grace – Good News for October 21

21 10 2009

St. Paul’s letter to the Romans 6:12-18

Brothers and Sisters,

Sin must not reign over your mortal bodies so that you obey their desires. And do not present the parts of your bodies to sin as weapons for wickedness, but present yourselves to God as raised from the dead to life and the parts of your bodies to God as weapons for righteousness. For sin is not to have any power over you, since you are not under the law but under grace.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace?  Of course not! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, although you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient from the heart to the pattern of teaching to which you were entrusted. Freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness.

The Daily Path: Sometimes a portion of these readings just leaps off the page for further reflection. Here is one such example from St. Paul’s letter to the Romans: For sin is not to have any power over you, since you are not under the law but under grace.

Living under grace…

our_lady2





Seventy-Seven – Good News for August 13

13 08 2009

Matthew 18:21-19:1

Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. That is why the Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who decided to settle accounts with his servants. When he began the accounting, a debtor was brought before him who owed him a huge amount. Since he had no way of paying it back, his master ordered him to be sold, along with his wife, his children, and all his property, in payment of the debt. At that, the servant fell down, did him homage, and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back in full.’ Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan.

When that servant had left, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a much smaller amount. He seized him and started to choke him, demanding, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ Falling to his knees, his fellow servant begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ But he refused. Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison until he paid back the debt.

Now when his fellow servants saw what had happened, they were deeply disturbed, and went to their master and reported the whole affair. His master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to. Should you not have had pity on your fellow servant, as I had pity on you?’ Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

When Jesus finished these words, he left Galilee and went to the district of Judea across the Jordan.

The Daily Path: While reflecting on this passage there came to mind so many times when I have acted in the same manner as the wicked servant. Gifts of mercy and compassion returned with something far less than what had been given to me. As I look back on the many instances of my own failing in this regard, my heart is filled with sorrow and regret. Perhaps God will grant me the time (on earth) and enough wisdom in the days ahead to atone for these transgressions by living more fully in Christ’s lessons of love.

Room to Chat: Start the day with Christ. It only takes a moment to say “Good (God) morning.”

our_lady2





Where Are You? – Good News for May 19

19 05 2009

John 16:5-11

Jesus said to his disciples, “Now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’

But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation: 

sin, because they do not believe in me; 

righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me;

condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”

The Daily Path: Some days I want to ask Jesus, “Where have you gone?” The problem is that Jesus has not gone anywhere. He’s a constant. Always there.

The problem is me. I’m the one who has gone somewhere. 

Room to Chat: Feeling grief? Disconnected? Now is the time to actively seek Christ. He’s right there.





Leave The Olives Behind – Good News for March 30

30 03 2009

Neither do I condemn you…

John 8:1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him.

Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him.

Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

The Daily Path: The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem is referenced a number of times in the New Testament. Jesus taught and prayed there. The night before he was to be crucified Jesus went to the garden at its foot known as Gethsemane. He asked the Apostles to sit with him while he prayed to the Father asking to be relieved of the sacrifice that lay ahead.

It’s interesting that in John’s account of Jesus amazing act of forgiveness toward the adultress, that the Mount is again referenced. I think we all have our own Mount of Olives where we pray asking our Father to remove the burdens we carry. In some cases those burdens are sin. I’ve come to understand how sin lurks waiting to pounce in a moment of our weakness, allowing the evil one to claim temporary victory. Yet each time I fail, Christ is right there holding out the promise of forgiveness. And each time He picks me up and dusts me off. Like the woman accused in today’s Gospel, Jesus sends me back on my way asking that I leave those sins behind… like olives that have fallen off a tree to be trampled under foot. 

Room to Chat: Lord, please keep Michael close to you this day. Let your love provide the sanctuary he needs. (See Room to Chat: Come Out – Good News for March 29)