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.





Thanksgiving 2010 – Good News for November 26

26 11 2010

Luke 21:29-33

Jesus told his disciples a parable.

“Consider the fig tree and all the other trees. When their buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near; in the same way, when you see these things happening, know that the Kingdom of God is near. Amen, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”

The Daily Path: I hope you were able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal with family, friends or someone important in your life. I know that wasn’t possible for many. I couldn’t help but think of someone sitting alone with their shopping cart underneath a freeway. Only vague memories of happier times and the rumble of traffic overhead to keep them company.

I was fortunate to break bread twice with family members. Once on Wednesday night with my wife’s side of the family and again yesterday, with my parents. Both provided joy and reminded me of our bounty. With each came a sense of warmth and well being in the state of family relations. The blossoms are open and revealing their beauty and sweet fragrance. Yet we know that from time to time this will not be the case. There will be disagreements that will break a family into fragments. Perhaps next year not all who gathered this season will be together – feeling anger or harboring a hurt perceived to have been caused by one who just a few short months ago passed the pumpkin pie with great affection.

Today’s reading reminds me that the joy of God will never pass. It’s a permanent fellowship that will withstand beyond time and Grandma’s turkey dinner. I must hold it close when all others falter.





Not Just Coin – Good News for November 22

22 11 2010

Luke 21:1-4

When Jesus looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

The Daily Path: We can give from our wallet or we can give of ourselves. Certainly both types of giving are needed. Jesus points to monetary giving in this example but I think the message is broader than just coin. I’ve found that “being there” for someone in a time of great need can provide incalculable value. I’ve been on the receiving side and can tell you from my own experience that when things seem darkest receiving a note from a friend, an invitation for coffee, or a friendly call, can dig you out of the depths like nothing else. This type of genuine outreach keeps you going when the weight of the world feels squarely on your shoulders.

This week, as we prepare to gather as family and give thanks, perhaps it’s time to think about making one of those calls. Who can we share our spiritual wealth with? Who’s feeling alone or bearing the great weight of worry? Who could benefit from a little joy? Friends, I think our horn of plenty comes in all shapes and sizes. See what can be shared from your pantry of love.





Why Stop Now? – Good News for November 29

29 11 2008

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.” 

Revelation 22: 1-7

John said, “An angel showed me the river of life-giving water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the street… On either side of the river grew the tree of life that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month; the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations… “Behold, I am coming soon.” Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic message of this book.

The Daily Path: Today marks the end of my calendar Thanksgiving week. I want to add a final entry to my Gratitude List. I am grateful for the inspiration that God has given me this past week.

Today’s readings (Luke 21: 34-36 / Revelations 1-7) remind me that all I was inspired to see over the course of this week should always be kept in my heart. Instead of Thanksgiving Week, I should aspire to a Year of Thanksgiving. In doing so perhaps I can avoid becoming “drowsy” and instead “produce fruit twelve times a year.” 

In closing, let me send thanks to everyone who God inspired to walk with me this week on the path. Your company was most welcome and I invite you to continue alongside.





I Am Grateful – Good News for November 27

27 11 2008

Luke 21: 20-28

“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it; for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.

Alas for those who are with child and for those who give suck in those days! For great distress shall be upon the earth and wrath upon this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 

When these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand.”

The Daily Path: On this day of giving thanks I’d like to share my Gratitude List.

I’m grateful for my renewed faith in Christ. I’m grateful that He reached out and touched me when I was a stranger and out in the cold. I’m grateful that I am once again able to “raise my head” and experience His love and share witness with others. I’m grateful for His mother, Blessed Mary, who continues to hold my hand and intervene on my behalf. 

I’m grateful for my wife and children, and the endless joy they bring. I’m grateful for having remarkable parents who offer unconditional love, unwavering support and life lessons that have formed who I am today. I’m grateful for the rest of my family and extended family.

I’m grateful for my friends, old and new, and the ones who have yet to enter my life. Their generosity, love and compassion has touched me deeply.

I’m grateful for my parish community.

I’m grateful for my health.

I’m grateful for my enemies and my failures, as they provide the opportunities through which I can grow. 

I’m grateful for the skills that have been given to me and pray that they may grow so that I can deliver what is being asked of me.

I’m grateful for the ability to once again see abundance where before I only saw want and despair.

I’m grateful that YOU are here and have taken a moment to reflect on Our Lord through this blog. I pray that God draws you closer to His love as He has done with me. 

Finally, thank you for the chance to share what I’m grateful for. May a special peace be with you throughout this day.





Kill the Turkey, Not ME! – Good News for November 26

26 11 2008

Luke 21: 12-19

Jesus said to the crowd, “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony.

Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.

You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.” 

The Daily Path: Wow! The first 104 words of today’s Gospel are enough to make you turn tail and run away. It paints a grim picture of what you get as a follower of Christ. Seems much safer to open a box of Cracker Jacks to get your prize.

But in dying Jesus restored life. And we can do the same to gain Christ’s promise of eternal life after death. I’m not talking about becoming a Christian martyr, although that continues to happen, even today. I’m referring to allowing our ego (ME) to die so that we can really live as God wants us to. Remember our Thanksgiving Week theme? Matthew 25: 35-39 To pass the Final Exam requires a very small “me” and a huge WE. I don’t know about you, but I’m not very good at this dying thing. ME doesn’t like it.

Thanksgiving Eve

Tomorrow will likely be a busy day for you. Traveling. Preparing a meal. Playing in the annual Turkey Bowl (ouch!). Because you won’t have much time tomorrow, will you join me today in spending a few minutes crafting The Gratitude List for 2008? 

Who and what are your grateful for this year?

It can be a short list of one or a long list of many. Hand written or a simple reflection in your mind and heart. Do it right now. Beat the rush!





Final Exams – Good News for November 25

25 11 2008

Luke 25: 5-11 

While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, “All that you see here – the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down.”

Then they asked him, “Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?” 

He answered, “See that you not be deceived, for many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time has come.’  Do not follow them!  When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end.” 

Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.” 

The Daily Path: None of us know when the end of our earthly life will come. Lately I’ve heard repeated messages in the Gospel and from the pulpit that essentially boil down to this: Don’t procrastinate! Live life as if you know the end will come in a few months. 

This past Sunday our pastor focused on the Gospel of Matthew 25: 35-39 in reminding us that Jesus gave us the answers to the questions we’ll be asked when we stand before Him on Judgement Day:

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

As I continue this week of Thanksgiving, I’ll try to do more homework for God’s final exam. If I’m scheduled to take it tomorrow, I have a lot of cramming to do. 

Remember, my friends… YOUR test is coming, too. Will you join me in study hall this week?