We need to be ready

Friday of the 30th Week

Romans 9:1-5

Luke 14: 1-6

I have this great card trick to show you that I have been working on. You are going to love it! Have a deck of cards in my pocket and pull them out and drop them all over the floor. Wait to see, if anyone helps to pick them up.

Now, why did you help me pick up the cards? Or, why did you not help pick up the cards? Our readings are about springing into action when we see someone in need.

St. Paul in our first reading is saying, “I have really tried to help you come to understand who Jesus is and come to believe in him, and you have failed to accept my help.”

In our Gospel, Jesus knows it is the Sabbath, a day when all Jewish people are forbidden to do any kind of work, even healing a person. Jesus encounters a man who has a badly swollen leg, and he heals the man. He was not going to wait until after the Sabbath to heal him, the time to heal the man is right now.

“When is the best time to help someone?” Answer: When they need the help, and we have to want to help someone, when they need the help. Give Examples of how I have seen the kids helping others.

The Eucharist is shared with us, so we will be willing to help those we encounter in the classroom, on the playground and anywhere else that God will lead us. No act of helping goes unnoticed by God!

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Is God’s plan for us to good to be true?

Thursday Thirtieth Week Ordinary Time

Romans 8:31-39

Luke 13:31-35

One of the best things I love about Grand Haven where I have owned a home for 34 years is the pier that goes out into Lake Michigan. Today with 30-40 mph winds, there will be 12-15-foot waves that will crash against that pier. As destructive as they waves will be, I predict that pier will still be there tomorrow. I go out on that pier almost every Sunday afternoon, because no matter what the weather that pier is a true sign to me that when storms in my own life beat down on me that God is still with me, and God is helping me. However, sometimes the Paschal Mystery of Christ, the life, death and resurrection of Christ is too good of news for us. It is too hard to believe that Jesus Christ came to this earth, to suffer and die for all of our sins and hardships. We might say, “Oh, it may be true for you, but it is not true for me. My situation is much more difficult than yours!” Worst yet, when hard times come we put ourselves at the bottom of and out-door- bathroom. We just let all that stuff come falling down upon us. Is the Paschal Mystery too good to be true for each one of us?

In our Gospel today, Jesus is on his way to fulfill the Paschal Mystery, to go to Jerusalem, to suffer and to die. Some people wanted to stop him to prevent him from fulfilling God’s plan, and he speaks harshly against them. Is God’s plan is just too good to be true!

St. Paul tells life-giving words as he says, “That there is nothing, no hardship that can befall us that would prevent the love of God from getting to us.” Is God’s plan is just too good to be true!

As we gather for this holy Eucharist, we come face to face with knowing that God’s plan is just too good, but it is true! May we know the love of God and live it today!

God has chosen us.

Feast of St. Simon & St. Jude

Ephesians 2:19-22

Luke 6:12-16

How are we doing in faith today? Are we strong in faith or struggling in our faith? No, matter where we are in faith, our feast day is a good reminder that God chose us, we did not choose him. With God choosing us, comes a privilege and a responsibility.

In our first reading from St. Paul to the Ephesians, he offers assurances that as Christianity reaches out beyond the boundaries of the Jewish community and into the Gentile world, that all who receive the message of Jesus are part of the household of God. Paul sees this as a vision of a great building that is being built is on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and with Jesus Christ as the capstone. This is a wonderful vision to know that we are part of a long tradition of faith full people, built as a great building.

In our gospel, we hear Jesus already having disciples, and from them chooses twelve to be his apostles. It would be these twelve that he would spend the most time with getting to know them and preparing them to go out to all the nations to spread the Good News.

Of all the twelve apostles, Simon and Jude just may be the least of the twelve. They are always listed tenth and eleventh place; just before Judas Iscariot. St. Jude writes a short letter that became part of the New Testament, and we do not even read from it today. They are the least yet we honor them today.  

Could it be that Jesus called them precisely for this reason? Maybe Christ is trying to give us a message that we do not have to be exceptionally gifted or outstanding to be great in the kingdom of Heaven? Could it be that his choice of these apostles is the way of showing us that what is ultimately important is not what we have accomplished, but what we believe? 

Good has chosen each one of us, may we live our faith as Simon and Jude did?

What can I do for you today?

Thirtieth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Jeremiah 31:7-9

Hebrews 5:1-6

Mark 10:46-52

How have we heard Jesus ask us, “What would you have me do for you?” How did we respond? This is really the question of the weekend. How have we done in asking this of others? Did we ask it? Should we have asked it? We as men, are fixers! We are supposed to be the Tim Allen’s from Home Improvement of our families. We love to fix things and our families, “If they would just let me fix them, my life would be some much better!” What would you have me do for you? This might be one of the most important questions we could ask someone! Because it allows us to be completely present and vulnerable to someone. “What would you have me do for you as your pastor?”

In our first reading from Jerimiah, God asks, “What would you like for me to do for you?” and Jeremiah answers, “Send the people home, by setting them free of captivity” and God does sets them free. However, who is it that comes home to rebuild the holy city? It is not the biggest, the strongest, or the great warriors. It is the blind, the lame, the mothers with child, it is everyone, because they need to know that God will be completely present to them as he says, “What would you have me do for you?”

What strikes me about our Gospel, is what I think it is not about. It is not about the physical healing of Bartimaeus; it is about the encounter, but it is not about the physical healing. I say that because Jesus does not say anything directly about a healing, Jesus does not touch him; Jesus is simple asks the question, “What would you have me do for you?” Now is it not obvious what Bartimaeus needs? It is not like Bartimaeus is going to say, “You know if I could just sing and dance, I would make a lot more money!” What I love about the question, is Jesus is showing to him and to us, that he wants to make sure we know he is fully present to us, and he wants to know exactly what we need.

Bartimaeus, did not have to see Jesus to know that he was there he only needed to be ready when Jesus asked the question. Bartimaeus is healed of his blindness, but he is also healed of any doubt of faith. He leaves behind his cloak his only possession, and he becomes a follower of Jesus, to the city of Jerusalem, and to his death. 

We gather today, in this Eucharist and we do not have to see him, we only need to be ready when Jesus asks the question and to know that he is completely present to us. Will we have the wisdom to respond properly?

Guilt is a gift

Friday of the 29th Week

Romans 7:18-25

Luke 12: 54-59

Today we need to make a check of our spiritual lives and take a moment and reflect on why do we fall to sin? We often sin because we feel we might deserve it, or we are entitled to something. The following things might be some factors of why we sin.

  • We sin because we have been so good. Ex. Lord, I have just done three funerals, along with my weekend schedule of masses. I have been so good for you.
  • We sin because we have put up with so much crap from people. Ex. Lord, I have put up with crabby kids, and a spouse who never helps me.
  • We sin because we are so mad about something. Do you see yourself there? All of these are stinking thinking!

St. Paul knows this all so well, as he looks at his life, he acknowledges that sin is in his life, but he does not fall into despair. Guilt, is actually a gift from God, because it moves us closer to God, so we can know his grace. The unholy one wants us to believe that we are so unworthy. It is not about being worthy or unworthy, because we do not deserve God’s grace, but God offers us his forgiveness and his unconditionally love because he is God.

Jesus says in our gospel, “You see a dark cloud coming from the west, and you say it is going to rain, and it does.  You feel the wind come from the south, and you say it will get warmer, and it does.”  Why do you not heed the warning sign of temptation as you fall to sin? One thing we can do is heed these warning signs. Become more attentive to when we might be most vulnerable.

Our Psalmist today got it correct, “Lord, teach me once again your precepts.” I do not deserve any of your blessings, but I am so grateful for your presences.  

God’s Word is Powerful

Thursday Twenty – Ninth Week Ordinary Time

Romans 6:19-23

Luke 12:49-53

There has been some things that I have wanted to talk to you about?

I wish we could talk like we use too.

I wish you would quit drinking so heavy.

I wish you would have told me when you were going to be home.

I wish my children would call me, so I wasn’t so lonely.

For authentic relationships to happen there are times when hard words need to be spoken in love to move the relationship forward.

In our gospel, Jesus understands this very well as he says, “I have come to light the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing.” What happened to the peace, love, and let’s all get along Jesus? God’s word has great power, it can tear things apart, but it also, has the great power to bind things together, because of unconditional love, and a willingness to forgive.

Pope John Paul II had great apostolic zeal, for spreading the Word of God to every place he went around the world. He was the great evangelizer.  

May our hearts, burn today, with the zeal of Christ.

 

 

Would we change the past or try and predict the future?

Wednesday of the 29th Week

Romans 6:12-18

Luke 12:39-48

“Have a great yesterday!” Today is “Back to the Future Day.” In the 1989, cult classic movie, “Back to the Future II” Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd go into the time machine to today’s date of October 21, 2015, and land at 4:29pm. In predicting how life would be they got some things right, but they got some things wrong. They have the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series. It might happen! They had video chat, which we do have, but we do not have flying cars, or self-tieing shoes, or hovering skate boards. What can we predict for our lives in the future?

St. Paul in our first reading today tells the Romans do not concern yourself with the future, you are set free! You are no longer slaves to sin, which leads to death, but you are servants to obedience, which leads to righteousness living. Obedience to God gives us freedom, because we know how to act, think and be. We have the commandments, we have the Beatitudes, we have sacred scripture, we have the Eucharist, all these things teach us how to live.

In our Gospel, Jesus is really saying, “Ok, what will you do in the future?” Will we live our lives for God, being vigilant in our waiting and knowing how to live, or will you say, “Yeah, I know there is a God, but I can do (fill in the blank) because I am entitled to it?”

Can we predict the future? No! But we can live in faith and have some assurance that we will be ok, because of the love of God. May the Eucharist we share, be our future and our day!