Thursday, February 28, 2019

Sometimes we keep the sin in our lives well protected, guarded, covered over with lies. Sometimes we "believe" we are not free enough to own our sin, so we cannot be healed of it………. An unacknowledged wound cannot be healed.

“The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.” ― Malcolm Muggeridge: (1903 – 1990: was an English journalist and satirist.)

Gospel Text: (MK 9:41-50)
Jesus said to his disciples:
"Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink
because you belong to Christ,
amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.

"Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, 
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed 
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled 
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.
Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

"Everyone will be salted with fire.
Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid,
with what will you restore its flavor?
Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another."

Jesus seems to be adamant about telling us to get rid of everything in our lives that lead us to no good.  Whether it be our hand, foot, eye, as well as unhealthy thoughts and actions.  For most of us, like myself, if we were to take his words literally, we would all be maimed in one way or another!  I don’t think Jesus had in mind that we should cut off a hand, foot or poke an eye out.  But, I do believe he is challenging us to take time to examine our life and actions and set about making right where we are going astray!  

What are some ways we can do this?


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

“Wisdom is less about academic intelligence, cognitive abilities or analytical skills, although these can help significantly. Instead, wisdom refers to the ability to see the "big picture" and translate one's experience and knowledge into good judgment and decisions.”

Wisdom is not communicable. The wisdom which a wise man tries to communicate always sounds foolish.... Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it. - HERMANN HESSE, Siddhartha

Scripture Text: (SIR 4:11-19)
Wisdom breathes life into her children
and admonishes those who seek her.
He who loves her loves life;
those who seek her will be embraced by the Lord.
He who holds her fast inherits glory;
wherever he dwells, the LORD bestows blessings.
Those who serve her serve the Holy One;
those who love her the LORD loves.
He who obeys her judges nations;
he who hearkens to her dwells in her inmost chambers.
If one trusts her, he will possess her;
his descendants too will inherit her.
She walks with him as a stranger
and at first she puts him to the test;
Fear and dread she brings upon him
and tries him with her discipline
until she try him by her laws and trust his soul.
Then she comes back to bring him happiness
and reveal her secrets to them
and she will heap upon him
treasures of knowledge and an understanding of justice.
But if he fails her, she will abandon him
and deliver him into the hands of despoilers.

The relationship between the believer and wisdom is bound to bear difficulties. Wisdom does not promise an easy life to the one who follows her. Wisdom “tries [the believer] with her discipline, a phrase reminiscent of Hebrews 12:7: “Endure your trials as ‘discipline’; God treats you as sons. For what ‘son’ is there whom his father does not discipline?”

It is wise to accept discipline that comes from a just one. Give thanks for such discipline and take it to heart and prayer.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

“...You say to God, “I have never seen you provide for me.” God says to you, “You have never trusted Me.”

“To be sure, it was not Easter Sunday but Holy Saturday, but, the more I reflect on it, the more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life: we are still awaiting Easter; we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust.” ― Pope Benedict XVI, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977

Scripture Text: (SIR 2:1-11)
My son, when you come to serve the LORD,
stand in justice and fear,
prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast,
incline your ear and receive the word of understanding,
undisturbed in time of adversity.
Wait on God, with patience, cling to him, forsake him not;
thus will you be wise in all your ways.
Accept whatever befalls you,
when sorrowful, be steadfast,
and in crushing misfortune be patient;
For in fire gold and silver are tested,
and worthy people in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust God and God will help you;
trust in him, and he will direct your way;
keep his fear and grow old therein.

You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy,
turn not away lest you fall.
You who fear the LORD, trust him,
and your reward will not be lost.
You who fear the LORD, hope for good things,
for lasting joy and mercy.
You who fear the LORD, love him,
and your hearts will be enlightened.
Study the generations long past and understand;
has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed?
Has anyone persevered in his commandments and been forsaken?
has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
Compassionate and merciful is the LORD;
he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble
and he is a protector to all who seek him in truth.

Today’s readings from Mass are lessons in discipleship and trust…. trusting God.  The most difficult words to obey are: Trust God.  We hear it every day, we sing about it in church, and we read about it in scripture, but could we say that our hearts are open enough to just do it?  Do we feel free enough to let go of our worries and fears and just trust God?  We are good at worrying, trying to fix things, and sitting in our hurts, but isn’t it time to rest our quivering hearts? Isn’t it time to trust God’s love for us?  Don’t you remember what God whispered to you just before you were born?  God whispered, all that you will find easy and all that you will find to be a burden and difficult, will all work together for your good, because you are mine.  You are a manifestation of my love.  Trust me to guide your path.  Trust me.’  So, when life doesn’t seem fair, when we don’t understand why, and our hopes and plans are crushed, let us remember that God has our best interest at heart, and there is meaning; you have a purpose which is bigger than can be imagined.  It is so, because you are a child of God; we are children of God.

Monday, February 25, 2019

“I am not moved by what I see. I am not moved by what I feel. I am moved only by what I believe.”

Oh, how great peace and quietness would he possess who should cut off all vain anxiety and place all his confidence in God. --Thomas A. Kempis: (1380 -  1471: was a German-Dutch canon regular of the late medieval period and the author of The Imitation of Christ)

Gospel Text: (MK 9:14-29)
As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John
and approached the other disciples,
they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them.
Immediately on seeing him,
the whole crowd was utterly amazed.
They ran up to him and greeted him.
He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”
Someone from the crowd answered him,
“Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit.
Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down;
he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid.
I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.”
He said to them in reply,
“O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?
How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.”
They brought the boy to him.
And when he saw him,
the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions.
As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around 
and foam at the mouth.
Then he questioned his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?”
He replied, “Since childhood.
It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him.
But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus said to him,
“‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”
Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”
Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering,
rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it,
“Mute and deaf spirit, I command you:
come out of him and never enter him again!”
Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out.
He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!”
But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.
When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private,
“Why could we not drive the spirit out?”
He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”

In today’s gospel Jesus speaks to the heart of the matter: the lack of faith. He had moments before describing His disciples as a “faithless generation”. Now He says to the father, “Everything is possible to one who has faith.” But to this, the father offers an intriguing rejoinder: “I do believe, help my unbelief.” Jesus must have thought him sincere since He did help him. But perhaps today we could pray over this father’s words, make them our own in prayer, and root all of the petitions that we make today in these words. This father recognizes that in this fallen world, faith is always needed. One cannot outgrow the need for faith.