Will we be ready when God acts?

Tuesday Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Genesis 19:15-29

Matthew 8:23-27

Are we ready for God to act in a powerful way in our lives today? Or are we so afraid of God’s power we would father go at it alone? As soon as I got up yesterday, I had a theophany of God’s presence in my life. As I went downstairs to begin breakfast, I saw God in the sunlight shining in the window. As I sat at my kitchen table and drank my morning tea, I had a warm feeling of God’s presence and it was wonderful! All through-out the day, I saw and had a very strong feeling of God’s presences. Each time this happened, I was encouraged to look even harder for God’s presence. Are we ready for God to act in our lives? 

In our first reading, the people living in Sodom and Gomorrah had been warned to change their behavior or they would be severely punished. This is the land that we heard about last week that Lot had chosen to settle in. God is now ready to carry out his wrath on Sodom, but first he sends an angel to tell Lot to take his wife and two daughters and be on their way. Lot hesitates, so the angle grabs them by the hands and drags them out of the city. The angel says, “Now flee for your life!”  But Lot is not ready again and begs not to go to the mountains but only to the next small village. Lot would pay a heavy price for not being ready as his wife turns back she turns to salt. 

In our Gospel, the disciples do not know yet who Jesus is and they are not ready to put their total trust in him. When the boat begins to be tossed about they cry out “Lord, save us! We are going to perish!” Jesus gets up, questions them about their little faith and calms the wind and the sea. The calming of the sea has the disciples asking, “What kind of man is this?” 

There is no question about it, God is going to act in our lives today. The only question is, “Are we going to be ready when God acts?” 

Let what we experience in this Eucharist continue through-out the day.

 

Who is in and who is out?

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Wisdom 1:13-15; 2:23-24

II Corinthians 8: 7, 9, 13-15

Mark 5: 21-43

I love being a priest and I love celebrating the Eucharist. I know I get excited, but I cannot help but be excited, because there is nowhere else we can go that gives us what the Holy Eucharist gives us! We should be different as we leave here.

I love the Eucharist because it is an obligation. The Church got it right! It needs to be an obligation, to move us to wanting to be here, desiring to be here and knowing we cannot not live without being here. 

I love the Eucharist because I look around and I know some of your stories. There are people in great pain and suffering. Thank you for being here, because you are looking for some answers that are not easy, but you trust that someday those answers will come. I look around and I see some who are filled with great joy. Thank you for coming and giving thanks to God for what he has brought you. 

I love the Eucharist, because all are welcomed. It does not matter who you are, or what you are, or what planet you are from, you are always welcomed here at St. Patrick’s. 

I love the Eucharist, because it is here that our lives can be changed. The Word of God challenge’s us to be what God is calling us to be and to fight against what the world is calling us to be. We come to the Eucharist to be strengthened in doing what is pleasing to God. As is the case in today’s readings, where we are challenged to look at our lives and ask, “Who is in my ‘in’ group and who is in my ‘out’ group? And why? 

In our Gospel, there is the synagogue official, named Jairus, who comes to Jesus and begs him to come to his home and heal his daughter who is dying. Jairus would be on the outside because as a synagogue official, he would have wanted to protect the Jewish faith and the worship at the synagogue. However, he risks everything and comes to Jesus. There is the woman, who has been bleeding for 12 years. She most defiantly would be on the outside, because no-one would come near her because of her bleeding. She too risks it all. 

The most incredible thing that Jesus does is he goes to the home of Jairus the synagogue official and Jesus touches his daughter making himself unclean. Jesus is now a member of the outside. Jesus allows the woman who is bleeding to touch him which would have made him unclean and a member of the outside group. Do we see that Jesus breaks down all the barriers of who is “in” and who is “out” and he ministers to them all? 

We are challenged this day to see who is in our “in” group, and who is in our “out” group, and why do we keep the “out” group at a distance. We are challenged to die to our self-will, our pride, and to reach out to others this day.   

We come to this Eucharist this day, the ultimate sign of unity; where our God comes and reaches out to touch us.  Let us then have the strength to reach out to others as well.  

“Lord, if you wish you can make me clean.”

Friday Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time

Genesis 17:1, 9-10, 15-22

Matthew 8:1-4

In confession and in spiritual direction, I am always amazed of the pain and suffering that people carry around with them for many years that are a heavy burden. Our readings bring us to a spiritual truth; that our God wants for us to be whole and good. 

In our first reading, we hear that God appears to Abraham and tells him’ “I am the God the Almighty. Walk in my presence and be blameless.” Abraham and Sarah would do all that they could do to remain blameless in the eyes, of God. Then God makes a covenant with Abraham saying to him and his descendants that He will be with them always. 

In our Gospel, a leper comes down from the mountain believing that Jesus can heal him as he says, “Lord, if you wish you can make me clean.” Jesus reaches out his hand, touches him and makes him clean. What a wonderful spiritual truth, “Lord, if you wish you can make me clean.” 

What is there in our lives that we have been carrying around for many years and need to hand over to God? Something from our childhood, our earlier teen years, or later in life? God does want to set us free and to make us whole. Let us lay those burdens down and be set free by God’s love. 

The Eucharist is God’s sign to us of his presences that we know that the Lord does wish make us clean.

 

“Where have you come from, and where are you going?”

Thursday Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time

Genesis 16:1-12, 15-16

Matthew 7: 21-29

Absolutely beautiful readings for us on knowing and acting on the will of God in our lives. 

In our first reading, Abram and Sarah know the will of God as they have been told that they will have descendants as numerous as the stars, and they are trying to live the will of God. However, after ten years in Canaan with no children Sarah follows the custom of their time that allowed a surrogate woman to bear her child. Sarah brings Hagar her Egyptian maidservant to Abram and she conceives. Because motherhood was held with such high esteem, people begin to pay more attention to Hagar and Sarah begins to ridicule Hagar runs away. Then an angel of the Lord appears to Hagar and says, “Where have you come from, and where are you going?” That is a great question, for the spiritual life. It is all God’s will, as we see the twist and turns of God’s will. 

In our Gospel, Jesus saying, that it is not enough just to know about him, we have to act on what we know. What we know about Jesus in our life needs to move us forward in faith even if it is frightening or scary. 

When we ask ourselves the question, “Where have we come from, and where are we going?” What kind of answer do we get? If we can remember a time when Jesus acted in our lives in a powerful way, then he can act again. Knowing the will of God and acting on it takes patience, humility and great prayer. 

The Holy Eucharist is offered to us to make sure we know that God’s will is to be with us. Let us act prudently in faith this day.

 

Give Care

Tuesday Twelfth Week of Ordinary Time

Genesis 13:2, 5-18

Matthew 7: 6, 12-14

 Think of the saying “take care.” We say it all the time! What we mean to say when we say those words is, “Take care of yourself.” I get that! However, I also hear something that we really do not want to mean and that is “take someone’s care from them.” Wouldn’t it be better if we said, “Give care!” Our readings challenge us to our Christian obligation to give more care than we take. 

In our first reading, Abram does not “take care”, but he “gives care” as he lets his nephew, Lot choose which land to move his family and livestock too. If Abram, “took care” he would have chosen the fertile Jordon valley which what was the better land, but he let Lot choose and that was what he selected. Abram by giving care would still be blessed as God stayed true to his promise that his descendants would be a numerous as the stars.   

In our Gospel, Jesus is saying something like, “Do not take people’s care, but give to people your care! This is hard to do, and it will be like entering through the narrow gate.”  

We gather to know the care of God for us. As we celebrate this Eucharist let us be strengthened to give care today to all that we meet.

 

Quiet! Be Still!

12th Sunday Ordinary time

Job 38:1, 8-11

II Corinthians 5:14-17

Mark 4:35-41

I had a great time with my brother and a friend of ours fishing in Maine. Three out of the four days we had two of us in the canoe, and one guy in a kayak. The last day was my day in the kayak and we were fishing the Kennebec River. As we put in that day, the water was moving pretty good and the wind was very strong to where at places there were white caps on the river. The only way I could fish, was to run the kayak into the shore and cast out into deep water. Just as I was doing this method when I hooked a fish that pulled me away from the shore and out into this fast water. Now I am fighting this fish, but now I am traveling backward down the river. As I look behind me I could see white water and rapids quickly approaching. I was absolutely panic and feared for my life! I eventually did say something like the apostles in our gospel, “Lord, do you not care that I am about to die?” But I said a whole lot of different things before I got to that line. I landed the fish, took it off my hook, and grabbed my paddle just before the rapids. As I maneuvered through the rapids the river became very calm. 

Our readings bring us to question in ourselves, “What do we do when adversity and hardships come our way in our lives?” I think there are times in our life when we think that living a life of faith means that God is supposed to grant us all health and wealth because we deserve it. The reality of our faith, is we are to know our faith, to help us maneuver through all of our storms, wind, and water in our lives. Our readings help us to understand a strong spiritual truth to this today. 

Our reading from Job, is a great place to start. Job is the guy who has everything taken from him and he has three friends who come and tell him that he has done something wrong to deserve this and he is to repent from his sinfulness and God will relent his punishment. Job claims his innocence, but wants his time before God to ask his own questions. What we miss, in our story is Job, questioning God. What we get is God’s responds to Job and this is what God says, “Job you are an innocent man, I only wanted to show that you are a loyal servant to me even in the face of great pain and suffering.” God reminds Job of all of his blessings and asks Job to focus on what he is doing in his life. 

Our Gospel is just awesome today, and there are so many lines that I love, but the best line for me is Jesus saying, “Let us cross to the other side.” Why? Jesus was just preaching and teaching and doing miracles, they had it all working, why, cross to the other side? Because Jesus wants them to know one thing and know it well. A storm blows up, so much that even seasoned fisherman, who know this lake well are afraid, and Jesus is alone sleeping in front of the boat. The disciples cry out “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He awakes from his sleep, and with great authority says, “Quiet! Be still!” and the wind and the waves are calmed.

 What are the storms, the wind and the waves in our lives? How do we need to hear Jesus say to us, “Be quiet! Be still! I am right here! You are too precious in my eyes that any harm will come upon you! You are to dear to me to let and unnecessary harm to you! Be still and have faith! Not some faith, real faith.

The Eucharist is given to us to be a reminder to us that Jesus Christ lived and died and rose from the dead for our sake. Let us hear the words of Christ, “Quiet! Be still! I am closer to you then you think” be in our hearts this week.