Saturday, May 18, 2013

Daily Readings 05/18/2013: Lovers of Violence and Dr. Kermit Gosnell

Daily Readings: 05/18/2013

"The LORD searches the just and the wicked;the lover of violence he hates." Ps. 11:5

Earlier this week, Kermit Gosnell, a true monster, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for killing a baby born alive in a botched abortion in his facility in Philadelphia. Nobody knows how many times this happened in his 'clinic' over the decades that he was in business. Now I am not going into how many times this probably happens each day that we never hear about it because it's in a facility that's cleaner than Dr. Gosnell's was. And I won't mention that every day babies are injected with drugs to stop their hearts while en-utero before they are dismembered and 'properly' disposed of as 'post-abortive tissue', a process which is, apparently, perfectly acceptable.

The plain truth is, abortion is killing, bottom line, at any stage, and killing should not be tolerated. Which brings me to my point. Kermit Gosnell could have been subject to the death penalty, but through some sort of plea deal, ended up with life in prison. I saw posts on the Facebook stating that, given the chance, he chose life for himself. But what scared me more were the people I know are Christian that were calling for his death, if not his torture and painful, agonizing death. I ask, how do we prove our commitment to life, by sentencing someone to death? During Moses' time the thought was 'eye for an eye' because there was really no effective way to separate dangerous people from society, and as Jesus said, there were things Moses allowed because of the hardness of their hearts. Jesus does not preach this. He taught us to pray for our enemies, not seek vengeance. It was the same feeling I got when I saw the celebrations in the street when Osama Bin Laden was killed. We looked like the people we were angry at just a few years before for celebrating in their streets when 3000 Americans were dead. Jesus does not teach vengeance. And we do not line in a society where we cannot effectively separate these monsters from society.

It's not easy to walk the line between justice and vengeance for these monsters, but as Christians. we are called to a very high standard. So let's pray for each other that we have the strength to pray that Kermit Gosnell, during his life of incarceration, while contemplating the horrific things he has done, can turn to the Lord and seek forgiveness. As the Psalmist writes, "those who love violence, he hates"

If Dr. Gosnell does not seek and acceptance His forgiveness, he will suffer a death far worse than we could ever have given him. And if we give in to anger and vengeance, then we too become those who love violence.

God Bless,


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Daily Readings 05/17/2013: Jesus Irritates Peter or I Only Annoy You Because I Love You Sooooooo Much!

Daily Readings: 05/17/2013

"He said to him the third time,
“Simon, son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time,
“Do you love me?” and he said to him,
“Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep." Jn. 21:17

This morning, after I ate breakfast, I slipped back into bed where my wife and two daughters were still sleeping. It was getting close to the time I was supposed to get ready for work, so my wife reminded me, "Don't fall back to sleep."
She reminded me twice.... it bugged me a little. Of course, I know I shouldn't fall back to sleep. But I got (ever so slightly) annoyed that she reminded me...... twice, that I should be careful not to fall back to sleep.

Well, we see Simon (soon to be called Peter) starting to get a bit irritated with Jesus as he is asked three times, if he loves him. I can imagine how he felt. "Okay, for the THIRD TIME, Yes Lord, I love you!"

But each time, Jesus passes on part of his plan for Peter. "Feed my lambs", "Tend my sheep", "Feed my sheep", Jesus is telling him that if he truly loves Jesus, he will be the shepherd to his people. He will feed the lambs by telling them the message of the gospel, he will tend his sheep by directing them in God's ways, he will feed his sheep by giving them the living bread from Heaven.

Each time Peter gives the same answer, "Yes, I love you.". Hmmm what other answer had Simon Peter recently answered the same way three times?

Ah yes, it was a chilly night in Jerusalem. The question was phrased three different ways, but his answer was the same each time. "I don't know him!", Simon had said, three different times, before the cock had crowed that morning of Good Friday.

Now I can really relate to Simon / Peter. You see, my wife is not the only one who has to remind me of things more than once. Sometimes it takes a bit for God to get through to me too. Yes, sometimes even He's got to throw the same message at me a few times before I really pick up on it. But eventually, most of the time, maybe, I think, I HOPE, I get it.
And maybe, just maybe, when He's smacking me upside the head with a spiritual two by four, it's not that I have a thick skull, but a hard heart. And he's just giving me the opportunity to make up for the many times I denied Him.

God Bless,


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Daily Readings 05/16/2013: There's a Call for You. Will you Stand for Something, or Fall for Anything?

Daily Readings: 05/16/2013

"The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage.For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.” Acts 23:11

So here we are with St. Paul. He is out persecuting Christians, has his conversion experience and gets dragged out in front of his old friends to be tried. Instead of saying, "Oh, haha, I was just kidding about that whole Road to Damascus thing. I'm still good ole Saul, your best buddy!" He stands up and tells him what he's learned, he shares with them the hope he has discovered. And a great debate ensues.

What we can learn from Paul's conversion is a couple of things. First, it is often those that are found after being lost, that can have the greatest impact on bringing others back to God. Paul could relate to the Pharisees, because he had been a Pharisee.

The second thing we can learn from St. Paul is that if we keep our mouths shut, we help nobody. Imagine the places Christ's message would not have reached had God not touched St. Paul and sent him out to preach and spread the gospel. If he'd just kept his conversion story to himself then sure, he would have had a great personal encounter, but as Jesus said, one does not light a lamp to put it under a bushel basket. We need to share our relationship with Him and our love for Him so that others can see the ways it can change the world. As St. Catherine of Siena said, ""Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire."

The third thing we can learn is that the truth is the truth, even when it is controversial. Paul's proclamation starts a battle between the two differing opinions. So much so that he is removed for his safety and brought somewhere else. But that night that the Lord comes to him he doesn't shy away from the message he is meant to deliver at all. He goes out into the world to spread the good news as he was called to do. We often shrink a bit when God's word is controversial or when people tell us it should 'get with the times'. God's word is timeless. It is not up to the sway of public opinion or current and changing social mores. And as His followers called to proclaim the truth, we should stand like St. Paul. Otherwise, who are we? Judas?

God Bless,