In Christ we can do anything

Thursday of the 13th Week Ordinary Time

Amos 7:10-17

Matthew 9:1-8

My daughter, Meggin gave birth yesterday afternoon by C section to a beautiful baby girl who is still unnamed as far as I know. The baby was 8lbs 13oz and 22 inches long. I have already begun to wonder what kind of grandchild she will be! Of course she will president of the U.S.! Of course she will be the first girl to play in the NHL? Of course she be smart? Of course, she is already beautiful! Our readings show us when we respond to the call of God, he can and will empower to do great things.

In our first reading, Amos was a humble shepherd and a dresser of sycamore trees. (The sycamore of Israel is also referred to as a mulberry fig and produces a small fruit – edible, but not known for having a great taste.  The job of the dresser was to puncture the fruit days before it was to be gathered to help with the ripening process.) Yet when God called Amos, he gave this simple man the courage to stand up to the most powerful leaders of the time and speak to them the hard words of God that they needed to turn back to God.

In our Gospel, a paralytic man incapable of doing anything for himself, is carried to the side of Jesus on a stretcher. This man asks for nothing, yet Jesus cures him, but before he can return home Jesus heals him of his sinfulness, which is a deeper healing.

My friends in Christ we can do anything, in Christ! Let us stand up and be not afraid. Let us have the courage to keep walking forward in faith! The Eucharist is our affirmation of this great miracle in our midst.  

 

 

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Bring on the faith

 

Wednesday Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time

St. Peter & St. Paul

Acts 12:1-11  

Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18

Matthew 16:13-19

 

Baby Come Out!!! As we celebrate this Eucharist, my daughter Meggin is in hard labor and delivering her first child. Mothers know the hardest, most painful thing you do as a women is to deliver a child, but it is also the most satisfying. On this solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul, we celebrate two of the pillars of the Church. The hardest most painful thing these two men were to continue sharing the Word of the Lord to the world, but it was also the most rewarding.

St. Peter faced much opposition in his life time and is in prison awaiting his death as King Herod had James and his brother killed. However, and angel of the Lord comes to Peter in prison and sets him free.

St. Paul also suffered much as he traveled around sharing the gospel message to the gentiles. He too, is in prison, but he knows he has run the race well, and he will finish the race, by giving his very life. Paul speaks knowing his physical body is in prison, but his spirit is set free in Christ.

None of us are free from pain, suffering heartache, or disappointment. But when we can answer the Lords question in our Gospel, “Who do you say that I am?” The Word of God will come from us, and our lives will be different.

Let us embrace what Peter and Paul embraced. What they believed, their labors, their sufferings, their preaching and their confession of faith.

 

 

Let us have faith

 

Tuesday Thirteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Amos 3:1-8; 4:11-12

Matthew 8:23-27

St. Irenaeus

 

I really do try and live by faith. I really do! However, occasionally, something happens that shows me just how much farther in faith I have to go. Last Friday, Cheryl and I were called to the hospital to visit a family was wife/mother was dying. As the two HS children came, the father hug the both of them and said, “Mom, is really sick! If God wants her that is ok, because it is God’s will. If he wants us to have her, we will take care her, either way, we are to be strong in him.” I have never heard it said so well, and with such conviction. The woman died yesterday, and as the story was told to me, the husband held his wife in his arms and said, “Honey, it is ok, to go, you are going to a much better place, the girls and I will get our strength from God.” Once again, we gather in faith, to be challenged to grow even more in faith. 

In our first reading Amos the prophet is doing all he can to move the people back to faith in God. He reminds the people that they are God’s chosen people and with that comes relationship comes responsibilities and obligations. Amos is trying to get them to return to God in faithfulness and holiness. If you fail to return to God you better be ready to meet an angry God. 

Our Gospel is all about an act of faith as the disciples are being tossed about in their boat in a violent storm. In Greek, the words “violent storm” means the earth is shaking, so this is a very frightening storm. As the disciples are being tossed about, Jesus is sleeping in the front of the boat. 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. This calming of the sea, we are to take notice of because this is what happens when we turn to Christ in our time of need. 

Where is our faith today? Where is our stumbling block to faith? The Eucharist is given to us to move us to faith, may we come to truly believe in Jesus Christ.

 

To be determined to follow Christ

Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I Kings 19: 16, 19-21

Galatians 5:1,13-18

Luke 9:51-62

Deacon Stephen preached this week, and gave a very good homily. I am sorry, but I was unable to open his homily. This is a homily I gave three years ago.

On Friday evening during our 5k run/walk something happened that was epic our own Johnny Agar that has cerebral palsy walked the last mile of the race. He was determined to walk; he was determined to finish the race, and nothing was going to stop him and there were many there to witness to this epic event. Our readings come to us today and beg for us to answer, “How determined are we to follow Christ this day?”

In the first reading, we hear the call of Elisha to become a prophet. Elisha is out plowing in the fields, when God directs Elijah to come to him and Elijah takes off his mantle, his cloak and puts it on Elisha. In this gesture what Elijah has done is made Elisha a prophet of God. Elisha asks to return home, and he becomes very determined to be a prophet for God. To be a prophet for God is almost like signing your own death wish because now Elisha will have the challenge to always be aware of God’s presence throughout his life and to speak at times harsh words to the people of God. He will definitely come to know some very hard times. Elisha’s is so determined to be a prophet for God, there is not rerunning to his former way of life of farming. Elisha takes the farm equipment and starts a fire with it; he slaughters all the oxen and feeds the poor and needy.

In the very first line of the Gospel today is all we need to know about the Good News of Jesus Christ. We are told, “When the days came for Jesus to be taken up to be fulfilled, he was determined to journey to Jerusalem.” The good news in this is Jesus is determined to do the will of his Father and travel to what he knows will be passion, death and resurrection.  As he is traveling through a Samaritan village, he is not welcomed, it is well known that Jews and Samaritans did not like each other, but Jesus is determined to change all of that. Then to make matters worse than James and John, the Sons of Thunder” say, “Lord, do you wish for us to call down fire from the heavens to burn them up?” Jesus has to rebuke them because this is not the way of Christ. Then Jesus has an encounter with three different people one who asks to follow him the others Jesus invites to follow him, and all of them have excuses of what they need to do before following him. The responds of Jesus is the same to all, if you want to follow me, follow me right now.

So, my friends in Christ how determined are we to follow Christ today. How often did we just in the last week make up excuses not to follow Christ. Every time we failed to show understanding, mercy, forgiveness, or failed to love. May we be determined to follow Christ this week.

 

No baby, yet!

 

The Birth of John the Baptist

Isaiah 49:1-6

Acts 13:22-26

Luke 1:57-66, 80

 

I failed, I guessed wrong, my best laid plans, all for naught. I went out to Colorado, to be with my daughter to be with her while she delivers the baby, my first grandchild, and she did not deliver the baby. I guess, the little bugger is just very happy where he is at. As we celebrate, “The Birth of John the Baptist,” it is another reminder to me that God has a plan for us. It is much better than our plan, our job is to look for the hand of God leading us to that plan. 

In our first reading from Isaiah, we hear, “You are my servant in whom I will be glorified,” these are words of great encouragement, yet the servant says, “I have toiled in vain, and have spent all my strength.” The servant is able to continue by placing his trust in the Lord. 

In our second reading, on this birthday celebration, we are given a gift, where Paul says, “We have been given a baptism of repentance.” Not money, not gold, not silver, but a spirit of repentance, how wonderful. 

In our Gospel, we hear the story of the naming of John, as the neighbors gather, and they expect Elizabeth and to say the babies name to be Zechariah after his father, but God has a plan and the baby’s name is John. 

What plans do we have today? If we open our spirit up to God’s plan life will be a whole lot better. The Eucharist is given to us to hear the voice of God more clearly in our lives.

 

Only the strong forgive

 

Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

II Samuel 12:7-10, 13

Galatians 2:19-21

Luke7:36-8:3

I can remember past hurts very well. I can remember people who have hurt me from a long time ago. It sometimes is still brings up a lot of pain, and suffering. It is easy, to think of those who have hurt me, but our readings today challenge us to think of how we have hurt others. Now, that may be a lot harder to do.

In our first reading from II Samuel, we hear the prophet Nathan confronting David by saying, “Look at all God has done for you, and this is what you have done, going out in sinning in such a horrible way.” David has a repentant heart and comes to understand his sin, through Nathan as he says, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan responds, “Because you have asked for forgiveness, God is will be merciful.”

St. Paul in our second reading gives us a mindset to live by as he says, “I live, no longer for me, but for Christ who is in me.” If we reflect on what Paul is saying, it will help to keep us humble, so when we do hurt someone, we will have the strength to ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness should always begin within us.  

In our Gospel, a Pharisee invites Jesus to his home, but he does not do the prescribed ceremonial washings for when a guest enters a home. The story is already setting up that the Pharisee is not very humble, but more curious about who Jesus is. When a “sinful woman” enters the Pharisees home, he says, “What are you doing here?” To be labeled a “sinful woman” her sin must have been very public, for everyone to know about it. The difference between the Pharisee and the woman is she knows the depth of her sin and kneels at the feet of Jesus and not looking up, she baths his feet with her tears, she dries them with her hair, and she anoints his feet with ointment. Simon only still sees a sinful woman, but Jesus sees a woman knowing her sinfulness, and silently begging for forgiveness.

What are we doing here? How do we need to be at the feet of Jesus and asking for forgiveness from others? The words of “I love you” need to be said often, but the words, “”I am sorry” need to be said just as much. Only strong people can admit that they were wrong, forgiveness, is not for the weak. May the Eucharist we share bring us to say, “I am sorry!”