Sunday, April 28, 2013

Daily Readings 04/28/2013: Jesus' Fix-it Shop or What can you Bring to Him Today?

Daily Reading: 04/28/2013

The One who sat on the throne said,
“Behold, I make all things new.” Rev. 21:5a

In Revelation it talks of the One on the throne creating a New Heaven and a New Earth, a New Jerusalem, etc., but we have seen this One make things new already. From a few fish and a couple of loaves, He fed thousands, from water at a wedding feast, He made wine, for Lazarus' family, He made a time of grieving into a time of joy, bringing their loved on back from the dead. For a Samaritan woman he made a trip to the well a first step toward believing and everlasting life.

Time after time, Jesus takes the ordinary and makes it the miraculous and He lets us share in the miracle if we let him work through us. Whether it's feeding those crowds, showing compassion to an adulteress, rebuilding the life of an addict, or turning the love between a husband and wife into a new life, Jesus takes all that we bring to Him and can turn it into something miraculous. He turns the seemingly simple into something new and amazing!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Daily Reading 04/27/2013: Prove it to Me, or, Excuse me, But your God is Showing

Daily Readings 04/27/2013
“Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.” 
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time
and you still do not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own.
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works." Jn. 14:8-10

Philip asks for something that at some point, is asked of everyone who believes in God by someone else, who does not believe. He asks for 'proof' that God exists. I see it in news story comment sections all the time; there is no proof that God exists; what proof do YOU have for God's existence; etc. It's phrased many ways, but it's all the same question.

Often, this argument is rebutted with, "Well, can you prove that God does not exist?" Not a bad question, but that's not how logic works really, is it? I think a better question would be, why do you love? Why do we, as humans, feel love and compassion for others? It serves no practical purpose really. Sometimes it even goes against our instinct for self-preservation. People will sacrifice their own lives for others. But why?

Even those who don't believe in God are capable of loving others or being compassionate. I've heard them say, "I don't need to believe in God to be a good person.", and they're right. There are plenty of people who don't believe in God but do a lot to help others. I hate to be the bearer of bad news for them, but even though they are denying Him, they are showing and sharing God's love. You see, His love transcends mere humanity and is written on our hearts.

There are two dangers in denying His existence. First, for those of us who are Christian, denying God's existence also denies His son. If Christianity is correct, then not having faith and belief in God will lead to eternal separation from Him and true torment of the spirit; i.e. Hell. Second, if one does not believe in God, then they likely do not believe in the devil. This is exactly what the devil is looking for, because if you don't believe in evil, then evil gains a very strong foothold without you even knowing it. Again, leading to eternal separation from God and a tormented spirit.

We do not need some miraculous revelation or apparition to believe in God, we need only look around at what men and women of goodwill do to help others and show care for them. We need only to look back at our own lives and see those moments when we thought everything was going totally down the tubes and how they somehow turned themselves around when we didn't even see it coming. God loves us, and in that love, He reveals Himself to us regardless of whether the person spreading that love acknowledges its source or not.

God bless,

Friday, April 12, 2013

Daily Readings 04/13/2013: Today's Boating Forecast, Stormy with a chance of Messiahs Walking on the Sea

Daily Readings: 04/13/2013

"The sea was stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.
When they had rowed about three or four miles,
they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat,
and they began to be afraid.
But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” Jn. 6:18-20

Imagine the apostles, at sea in a storm. They are probably a little bit anxious about getting across to the other shore alive. They are struggling through a difficult time and suddenly, they see Jesus, walking on the sea. This had to be a bit surprising. I mean, it's not like it was something you see every day. "Oh, it's just Jesus showing off again!" This was truly a miracle beyond belief, and they are frightened even more.

But Jesus tells them, "It is I. Do not be afraid.", and the next thing they know, they've arrived at their destination. They were carried through their worst fears.

Sometimes when our lives seem tumultuous and we are scared, an opportunity presents itself that may frighten us even more. But we can't rule out the possibility that the opportunity may be the door that God is opening for us. And if we can trust Him and take that leap, He will lead us through the storm and guide us to where we are supposed to be.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Don't be so stingy with those gifts of the Holy Spirit!

Daily Readings: 04/11/2013

"For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God.
He does not ration his gift of the Spirit." Jn. 3:34

The one whom God sent, is obviously, Jesus. I love this line that he does not ration his gift of the spirit. It means that a full measure of God's mercy is available to all of us. So is His love, and His guidance, all of it, to all of us! What a gift!

But to those who much is given, of course, much is expected. If we are followers of Jesus Christ and beneficiaries of all of his blessings and graces, then we are also responsible to share ourselves as fully as we can. We must try to love as selflessly as Jesus, forgive as often as Jesus, and try to teach what he taught.

We must try to be as generous as we can when sharing the gifts the Holy Spirit has given us. We must try to never hold back; enthusiastically taking in and developing these gifts and then sharing them as generously as we can, to benefit others and help lead them to Jesus too.

God bless,


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Daily Readings 04/10/2013; 'SON' Light is the Best Disinfectant

Daily readings: 04/10/2013

"And this is the verdict,
that the light came into the world,
but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil." Jn. 3:19

Have you tried recently to speak out about God's teaching on any one of a host of 'hot-button issues'?

I can guess at what you were called. A bigot? An idiot? Uninformed? Or the absolute worst thing you can be called in this non-absolute society......intolerant?!?!

Truly we are in a world where the people in the darkness do not want to be shown the light. They don't want to see the links between moral relativism, the deterioration of the family, the objectifying of women, the sex and violence soaked media, etc. etc. etc.

Strangely enough, when something horrible happens, they act surprised and use it as an opportunity to ask "Where was God?" and snicker that it is proof of His disinterest. Perhaps, if we, as a society, looked to the light more often, or were not afraid to point out these connections, then we could avoid some of the heartache for ourselves or the next generation. Sometimes, however, I fear that it's all too far gone. When you are insulted or belittled for pointing out the true and obvious, it is not easy to be that voice. It is not easy to swim against the stream. But the alternative, as my previous Pastor was fond of saying is that we all "Hold hands and sing Kumbaya all the way to Hell!"

God bless,


Monday, April 8, 2013

The Annunciation: Tale of a wise and courageous young woman

Daily Reading: 04/08/2013

"Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her." Lk. 1:38

Mary's "Yes!" is a great example to all of us. Even though what the angel told her seemed impossible to her, she granted her consent to make a complete gift of herself and give her all to God's will. She had to know the possible consequences to a young girl, not yet living with her husband, who suddenly and mysteriously became pregnant. In that time, she could have been stoned to death. At the very least, it was almost a certainty that her husband would divorce her and her family would disown her. Her entire life, as far as she knew, was going to be turned upside down, or ended. But she agreed to be the ark of the new covenant despite the uncertain future it would bring.

I am amazed at what an incredibly brave young woman she was. May we all have the wisdom to hear God's will for us, and the courage to carry it out.

God bless,


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Me and St. Thomas the Apostle, or, His mercy endures forever! Which is good, because some of us can occasionally miss a meeting.

Daily Readings: 04/07/2013 (Divine Mercy Sunday)
"Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them.
Jesus came, although the doors were locked,
and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.”
Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands,
and bring your hand and put it into my side,
and do not be unbelieving, but believe.”
Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jn. 20:26-28

For a period of time, when I was young and thought I knew everything, I was an atheist. Now I could go on about how it was a dark period in my life. Not that there was a terrible amount of strife going on, but meaning I felt the lack of God's presence in my life, not that I would have admitted it at the time. But that's for some other day. What I most regret, and have apologized for over and over, is that at the time, I would argue with my mother about it. Now, arguing with one's mother when you are a know-it-all young snot is pretty standard, but while I was arguing with my mother about God not existing, she was dealing with the loss of her mother. She tells me now that I need not apologize mostly because I was just a smart-mouth kid who thought he had it all figured out and it was not the first time she had been through that. But I still wish that I'd had more compassion at the time and I'm very glad that she forgives me being young and thoughtless.
Anyway, today's readings reminded me that during these 'conversations', she would often say that she had picked the right name for me because I was a doubter. As I listened to the Gospel reading at Mass today, I realized she didn't know at the time, how right she was. Like the apostle, this Thomas too had knowledge of what Jesus had said, done and taught. But even though Jesus was there for the other believers to see, Thomas was off doing something else. And when people told me that Jesus was alive and he was real, I said, "Prove it!" 

I also, eventually, many years later actually, came to recognize Jesus as "My Lord and my God!"

Where my path veers off from its similarity to the apostle Thomas, is that he came to believe through seeing Jesus and feeling Jesus' wounds. I came back through a couple of different steps. First, when I stepped into my current parish (St. Kathryn's) after many years away from Mass, I just felt so much like it was 'home'. That was nice and all, but quite frankly, and not to diminish it, I feel pretty good when I walk into a Dairy Queen too. It's not the same feeling, but it's a pretty good feeling that could quickly have faded away. But then there was the second part. You see, as I grew in knowledge of the faith and the word, I came back heart and soul, not through feeling the wounds on Jesus' body, but by feeling His healing of the wounds inside of mine. And as I continue to grow, I find it easier to lean on His love and mercy and trust in His plan for me.

Now I realize, every day has its wounds and bumps and bruises, but if you can focus on Jesus' healing (which is admittedly, not always easy) you can feel Him working inside your heart. Like Peter, when he tried to walk on the water and began to sink; if we can take our eyes off the maelstrom, put our focus back on Jesus and reach out to Him, He will pull us out of the water and it will feel like a miracle. His mercy is waiting for us, we need only seek the healing.

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday!

God bless,


Saturday, April 6, 2013

St. Peter, St. John, Venerable Solanus Casey, and....YOU!

Daily readings 04/06/2013

"Observing the boldness of Peter and John
and perceiving them to be uneducated, ordinary men,
the leaders, elders, and scribes were amazed,
and they recognized them as the companions of Jesus.
Then when they saw the man who had been cured standing there with them,
they could say nothing in reply." Acts 4:13-14

St. Peter, St.Paul, in fact, most of the apostles are but the tip of the iceberg in a multitude of examples of the old saying that God does not always call the qualified, but He qualifies those that He calls. A poor teenage Jewish girl and her carpenter husband... a group of fishermen, a doctor and a tax collector... a down on his luck shepherd tending sheep for his father-in-law in the desert. These are all examples of people who never expected that they would change the history of the world forever, but when God called them they, sometimes begrudgingly, took their place to fit into His plan for salvation.

Fr. Solanus Casey, a Capuchin priest who served in Detroit was ordained a priest, but because of his poor performance in studies at seminary, was not allowed to hear confessions or preach doctrinal sermons. He was essentially a doorkeeper at the monastery. He is currently awaiting beatification because of his incredible compassion and the results of his pastoral consultations with visitors to the monastery. What seemed like something negative, was just a way for God to put Fr. Casey in place where he was most needed.

This lesson has two sides. First, never be too proud to learn from anyone. When I used to study martial arts, even as a black belt, I would constantly remind myself that there was no student on that floor, even a first day white belt, from whom I could learn something. Always listen to people, there is nobody on this planet who you can't learn from.

The other side of this lesson is that sometimes, you are that person. Sometimes, you are put in the right place, and the right time, because He wants you there. Never underestimate your impact on other people's lives.

God bless,


Friday, April 5, 2013

Action movie heroes are highly over-rated. Daily readings 04/05/2013

Daily readings, 04/05/2013

"He is the stone rejected by you, the builders,
which has become the cornerstone.
There is no salvation through anyone else,
nor is there any other name under heaven
given to the human race by which we are to be saved." Acts 4:11-12

Peter is being questioned by the power brokers of the time, and 'filled with the Holy Spirit', he boldly proclaims that Jesus is the name by which he performed a miracle, and that Jesus is the gate to salvation. He could have been executed on the spot, I imagine. Look what they had just done to Jesus. So from Peter we learn the lesson that we are to be bold and proclaim God's truth. This is sometimes very heroic and often necessary to convey Christ's message.

His words also show us how counter-cultural Jesus' message is today. In a world where the hero is most often portrayed by a slightly flawed muscle man with a huge arsenal of weapons who wins the day through car chases and spectacular explosions, that is not the kind of hero that truly protects our lives. Salvation doesn't even come to us through Peter, the bold speaker, or through Paul, the former soldier. Our salvation, our share in eternal life comes to us through Jesus. He never carried a weapon, he never blew anything up. He won the ultimate battle through mercy, compassion, humility, service, and self-sacrifice.

God bless,