Foreign Relations – Good News for August 9

9 08 2010

Matthew 17:22-27

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were overwhelmed with grief.

When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, “Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?” “Yes,” he said.

When he came into the house, before he had time to speak, Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?”

When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the subjects are exempt. But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.”

The Daily Path: I would like to think that I have dual citizenship as a child of God and as an American. One status is greater than the other. Even though I live in what so many consider to be the greatest nation on earth, I am first a follower of Christ. In essence I am really a foreigner here. So as not to offend I pay taxes. I am committed to meet my earthly citizen obligations until the time when I am called home.

This is an act of faith. As Peter was instructed by Jesus, I fish to find the means to meet my obligations and sustain my citizenship – but it’s my first passport that I’ve come to honor most. Yet holding entry status among those who pursue the kingdom of God is not easy. Like all of us, I am conflicted on a daily basis. Give unto God in what I am doing or give unto Caesar?

When I stand before the border guard between this life and the eternal, only one passport will gain me access. Will my faith have been strong enough to open the gate?





Convulsions – Good News for January 12

12 01 2010

Mark 1:21-28

Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.

In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”

Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet!  Come out of him!” The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.

All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

The Daily Path: In today’s Gospel, Mark describes the violent convulsion of an unclean spirit as Jesus commands its departure from a man present during His teaching. It reminds me how I often struggle to retain something that is not good for me before finally casting it aside with some sort of little explosion.

For example, think of the times we feel the need to be right about something. We’ll go out of our way to prove ourselves correct. Sometimes this causes damage to a relationship. On those occasions when I can accept being wrong, it often requires a little convulsion on my part before I can let go. I don’t go screaming out of the room, but there is some upheaval that occurs within before “the demon” is expelled.

Another example of these convulsions (conversions) often comes in asking forgiveness. Think of the times you’ve done something to cause hurt. How long before you ask forgiveness… assuming you d0? I know that all too often I’ll chose to dwell for an extended period in the House of Ego, blind to the truth, all the while allowing a false sense of self-righteousness to fester away at the wounds inflicted. Then, after an epic struggle within, the light of truth suddenly breaks through and I accept what must be done. In that moment of final convulsion comes great relief, and best of all… inner peace.





Life Long Learning – Good News for January 13

13 01 2009

Mark 1:21-28

Jesus came to Capernaum with his followers, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.

In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit; he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God!” 

Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet!  Come out of him!”

The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him. All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.” His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.

The Daily Path: Last night I asked members of our parish mens spirituality group to share with me some of the milestones they have experienced along their own spiritual journey. While reflecting on what they shared I see how this path is the ultimate life long learning experience. None of us have all the answers or know enough to make the journey easy. We all stumble and fall. Some get back up. Others don’t. We can’t even expect to achieve plateaus where the walk becomes easy. There will always be challenges born of our human nature. 

The good news is that we have a teacher who never tires of sharing the lessons. An example that never falters or fails to reach down and pick us up when we ask him for help. Sometimes even when we don’t ask. And, if we look around, there are many other students who are also struggling on the daily path, yet glad to lend their support along your journey. Listen to the lessons they have learned and grow stronger for the experience.

Room to Chat: Appreciate beauty, for in its creation exists the hand of God. To my mind, that which recognizes God is a form of prayer.