Vision Restoration – Good News for October 3

3 10 2009

Luke 10:17-24

The seventy-two disciples returned rejoicing and said to Jesus, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

At that very moment he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”

The Daily Path: As I read this morning’s gospel it caused me to consider how fortunate I am that God reached out to restore my sight. It’s not that I was deserving. In fact, I was probably at the end of the deserving line. “Now serving number 4,567,392,228. Please have your vision restoration voucher ready.” No, I wasn’t worthy, but I was in dire need to see God in my life again.

Jesus told his disciples that many do not see and hear what they do. I’m probably at the back of the disciple trainee line, too, but I have been allowed a glimpse of God’s hand in all things. There are many around me that don’t see it. I wish they could because the ability to see God in my life has helped me no end. I have a long, long way yet to go, but I know I’ll get there because I’ve been allowed to see the way.

Room to Chat: Lord, many of your children will bear heavy burdens today. Keith’s family will remember the man who was father and husband until living became to great a challenge for him. Give them a glimpse of your peace and let their healing continue. I believe that You are a forgiving Father and Keith will be welcomed home again by You.

Others, will deal with tremendous anxiety over their ability to keep a roof over their family and food on the table. I believe you will provide all that is needed in our lives. Allow the Spirit within us to provide comfort and the strength to carry on during these difficult times. Restore our vision so that we can see your hand in the circumstances that surround us. And in doing so, let us also find your peace.


Cheerful Giver – Good News for August 10

10 08 2009

St. Paul’s 2nd letter to the Corinthians 9:6-10

Brothers and sisters,

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work. As it is written:

He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.

The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.

The Daily Path: One of the great blessings in my life has been the desire to pursue the presence of God and embrace Christ’s teachings. This wasn’t always so. For over thirty years I wandered the desert. Any attempt to find the Lord wasn’t done with a truly cheerful heart. As I recently told my fellow parishioners at St. Monica’s, I deeply regret every day in my life that I didn’t embrace God. I didn’t know what abundance I was missing out on.

Today, if you were to assess my balance sheet using the financial standards that so many hold above all else, you would see that I’m a junk bond at best. Yet, despite this current situation, I feel God has showered His abundance on me and my family. The piggy bank may lay shattered before me, but somehow, even miraculously, there is enough of what we need.

Yesterday. I had cause to sit back and shake my head in wonder over this abundance. I have a beautiful family each of whom possess amazing gifts that bring great joy to all they touch. We have our love for each other. We have our health. We live in a town that provides safety and a wonderful educational opportunities. We are members of a parish community that cares for not only its members, but all in need. We have friends and family who stand with us in the storm. We have enough to eat and a roof over our heads. And, most importantly… God has entered our lives.

Truly, it is my experience that God does shower His abundance to those who love and believe in Him. I pray that I will be ever mindful of this great lesson and always be the cheerful giver He asks of me.


Pick Up The Match – Good News for June 9

9 06 2009

Matthew 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

The Daily Path: Before my light could begin to “shine before others” it had to be turned on. God placed the matches on the table before me, but it was a long time until I understood how to pick one up and strike it against the flint. Then, once it was finally lit, I needed help to keep it burning. A breeze seems to always be blowing looking to extinguish God’s light, so I had to find a wind screen. God provided that calm by leading me to my local Catholic community at St. Monica’s. Here I could find respite in the storm raging around me and gather strength to continue drawing closer to God. I could also see the light burning in others around me. My own little match seemed to grow larger in the company of other light.

Still, I needed fuel to allow my match to keep burning and grow stronger. God gave me that fuel by opening my eyes to the Good News of Christ. Reading the Gospel on a daily basis has helped me no end. It nurtures the light (love) inside. Scripture not only shows me the way home, it also keeps my flame alive so that each day it will continue to grow stronger and brighter despite the gale winds that surround me. 

But it all starts by picking up one of God’s matches that sit on the table before each of us.

Room to Chat: Light your match today so you can shine and illuminate the way home for yourself and others on the journey.

Climbing Back – Good News for Holy Saturday

11 04 2009

A Letter to the Romans (Paul) 6:3-11:

Brothers and sisters,

Are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.

For if we have grown into union with him through a death like his, we shall also be united with him in the resurrection. We know that our old self was crucified with him, so that our sinful body might be done away with, that we might no longer be in slavery to sin. For a dead person has been absolved from sin. If, then, we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. We know that Christ, raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer has power over him. As to his death, he died to sin once and for all; as to his life, he lives for God. Consequently, you too must think of yourselves as being dead to sin and living for God in Christ Jesus.

The Daily Path: Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of my commitment to return to Jesus’ table as a practicing Catholic. I won’t share the complete chronicle of events in the days leading up to Easter 2008, but my commitment was cemented on that “Holy Weekend”.

Work obligations forced me to miss the traditional three hour Good Friday devotion, but for some reason I really wanted time to reflect on Our Lord’s suffering and sacrifice. I was inspired to go to the campus of St. Mary’s college where for some months I had been praying in the chapel. As I drove onto campus I saw the large white cross that sits on the green hilltop above. I decided to climb that hill and try to experience at least a tiny bit of what Jesus felt on the way to Golgatha and his crucifixion. I parked my car and headed straight up the face of the hill discovering it wasn’t as easy as it looked from down in the parking lot. It must have been a comical sight for any student watching outside their dorm to see this “old guy” in slacks and tie slipping all the way up the steep face.

As I slowly made my way up the hill, growing ever muddier and increasingly winded with each step, my silent prayers became more audible through my huffing and puffing. When I finally reached the top I was rewarded with a magnificent view of the surrounding valleys and hills that I had never seen before. (This was just the first of many new vistas that I would come to see in the next year) I recall kneeling down in the mix of damp, rocky soil at the base of the cross and praying harder than I had ever prayed in my life up to that point. I can’t tell you how or exactly when, but it was in those moments that I returned to the threshold of Our Lord.

Eventually, I made my way back down… this time following the easy fire trail that runs up behind the hill. That path was there all along but, like many things in my life back then, I didn’t see it. I’m still glad I took the hard way to climb the hill. It’s probably a reflection of my life in taking the longer road back to God. 

On Easter Sunday we went to Mass as a family at the church where I was baptized, St. Joseph’s Basilica in Alameda. As I listened to the sermon of Fr. Paul Minnehan, I knew in my heart that it was time to fully return to the Church. The next Sunday found me at St. Monica’s Church in Moraga, where once again the Holy Spirit touched me through the words of our pastor Fr. Wayne Campbell. That was when I knew this most prodigal of sons was back at the table with Christ.

As the late Paul Harvey would say, that’s “the rest of the story.”

Room to Chat: Lord, every day in his young life, Michael has climbed the hard road to Golgatha. Please help him to find an easier road to You. (See Room to Chat: Come Out – Good News for March 29)

Searching For Mr. Jesus – Good News for April 4

4 04 2009

They looked for Jesus…

John 11:45-56

Many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what Jesus had done began to believe in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. So the chief priests and the Pharisees convened the Sanhedrin and said, “What are we going to do? This man is performing many signs. If we leave him alone, all will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our land and our nation.” 

But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish.” He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. So from that day on they planned to kill him.

So Jesus no longer walked about in public among the Jews, but he left for the region near the desert, to a town called Ephraim, and there he remained with his disciples.

Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before Passover to purify themselves. They looked for Jesus and said to one another as they were in the temple area, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?”

The Daily Path: I think there are many people looking for Jesus. They just haven’t come to recognize Him yet. I’ve come to realize that Jesus is at every feast if we open our eyes to see Him.

This morning the parishioners of St. Monica’s gathered to bring the feast to the homeless of Oakland, CA. Jesus was in the kitchen wrapping sandwiches with the adults and packing cookies with the kids. Amazing!

Room to Chat: Lord, guard Michael, as a shepherd guards his flock.

(Today’s prayer for Michael adapted from Jeremiah 31:10. See Come Out – Good News for March 29)

The Greatest – Good News for March 18

18 03 2009

She intuitively obeys God’s law and teaches her children…

Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

The Daily Path: Jesus asks us to “obey and teach” God’s law.

When I was suddenly called back to Christ, it was a bit of a shock to my wife. She had no background in any faith while growing up. Her only exposure to Catholicism had been as a student at St. Mary’s College. To her credit she wanted to learn about the Catholic faith and see what my re-conversion was all about. 

For the better part of the past year Anne has been in the “inquiry phase” of RCIA at our parish. For those of you unfamiliar with the Catholic Church, RCIA stands for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. In a nutshell, it’s a weekly Catechism class with insights to the Catholic faith, church rituals and way of life. The inquiry phase provides anyone interested in becoming a Catholic the opportunity to participate in RCIA, and by doing so, learn more. Despite the fact that Tuesday night is the most impacted night of the week for Anne, she faithfully attends the weekly meetings. 

I bring this up because in her I see a living example of Christ’s teaching in today’s Gospel. Here is a woman who isn’t Catholic. Until recently she had no real faith experience. She has a million other things to do in her hectic life but attends RCIA every week, drives the kids to faith formation classes, gets out of bed each Sunday to attend Mass with her family, and every night says bedtime prayers with the kids, leading them in what we call “God Blesses” (asking God to bless all the members of our family by name)… even our 2-year old who is eagerly sounding out words and building her vocabulary. 

I marvel at this amazing woman who I love deeply. A woman who in so many ways lives a life more faithful to Christ’s teachings than I do. She intuitively obeys God’s law and teaches her children and husband by example. I think she’ll ultimately be called among the “greatest” in His Kingdom.

Room to Chat: If you have a second today, please ask God to take care of His most faithful teacher and the precious cargo she carries. Friday is baby delivery day!

Quiet Storm – Good News for March 3

3 03 2009

Sanctuary found!

Matthew 6:7-15

“In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

“If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

The Daily Path: Last evening, I attended a beautiful candlelight Mass at St. Monica’s. Our pastor, Fr. Wayne Campbell, brought all the parents of this year’s First Communion class together around the altar for an intimate Eucharistic celebration. 

I watched the faces around me, lit only by the flickering candles. Each one had a most noticeable look of peace about them. A piercing inner quiet seemed to lock out all of the individual worry and chaos. (From all their distress God rescues the just) Sanctuary found!

It struck me that this is how God works. Through silence. He doesn’t shout at us in a thundering voice (although He has on occasion). Yet His voice still booms in a perfect calm, like the eye of the hurricane. As I think about it, that’s when I heard his voice calling me back home. Amidst the quiet, not the noise.

Room to Chat: We just received today’s prompt… the Lord’s Prayer.