Is life chance or God and driven?

 

Wednesday of the 34th Week

Feast f St. Andrew

Romans 10:9-18

Matthew 4:18-22 

Is our lives just up for chance or coincidence or an act of God? 

Is Jesus walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee and calling out to Peter and his brother Andrew who are fishing to ‘Come after me” and they do! Is this chance or coincidence or an act of God? 

Is going a little further and seeing James and John the sons of Zebedee, and calling out to them to follow him and they do. Is this chance or coincidence or an act of God? 

All other rabbis at this time would select the brightest and the smartest of the students to follow them. Jesus does not do this, thankfully, because I would had never been called. Jesus goes out and chooses those who he wants to follow him. Is this chance or coincidence or an act of God? This radical decision to follow the Lord cannot be explained except by God is at work. 

Is our being here by chance or coincidence or an act of God? Advent is about our readiness when Jesus calls us. This will not be by chance or coincidence but only by an act of God. 

The Eucharist is given to us, to be like St. Andrew, to drop what we are doing and to follow Jesus this day.

 

 

Nothing is impossible with me! God!

 

Tuesday of the First week

Of Advent

Isaiah 11:1-10

Luke 10:21-24 

Wow! These readings are awesome! They challenge us to see ourselves through God’s eyes. We know the Lord, but knowledge is not enough. Advent happens when we take our dreams, our hopes, and our desires and believe that God is leading us somewhere that we could never imagine. 

The prophet Isaiah speaks to a people who are broken and lost and have no idea if there will be a future, and he simply tells them, “From this small little shoot, will come a mighty king to lead you.” Then he goes on to explain all of the things that will happen that are very much unexpected, a wolf lying down with a lamb, a calf with a loin, and a child with a snake. We say, “That is impossible!” but God says, “Nothing is impossible with me.”  

In our Gospel, the seventy – two disciples who were sent out with nothing and all come back rejoicing of all that they were able to do, in God’s name. It must have been great because this is the only time in sacred scripture that we hear of Jesus rejoicing. Remember these men were fishermen, tax collectors, and just ordinary men, and they were able to do great things because they believed. Jesus challenges them to be simple, like children and just believe! To be like children is to be accepting of those things right in front of us. 

Advent is knowing God is on the side of all the underdogs, those who do not have a chance. Advent is believing the best is yet to come!  

 

 

The best is yet to come!

 

First Sunday of Advent

Isaiah 2:1-5

Romans 13:11-14

Matthew 24:37-44 

We gather this First Sunday of Advent, as we always do to prepare ourselves for Christ coming again. It is the same Advent, but it is us that is different. We are not the same people we were last year at this time, so many things have changed in our lives. So often we say, “Oh, I wish things could be as they use to be!” That is all well and good, but we can never go back to what it used to because we have learned so much, and had so many more experiences. Life is not a circle, but more of a spiral. Look at this beautiful Advent Wreath, it is a circle, but think of it as layers of wreaths all leading us back to the same Advent.

Here is another example to help us think of Advent in a different way. Think about our past year; “What are the things we are grateful for in our lives now? They are probably different than last year. I am grateful for my priesthood. “What are we waiting for in our lives right now?” Again I would guess they are different than last year. I am waiting for family members, to begin talking again. Finally, “What brings us deeper joy in our lives right now?” My greatest joy comes in celebrating the Eucharist with you! So, you see, we come back to Advent, but we are in a different place, and now Advent has so much more to speak to us about! Now take all of those things and hold them very tight. Advent believes, the BEST is yet to come! The very best is yet to come! 

If we truly believe the best is yet to come then our Advent readings are perfect for us. In our first reading from Isaiah, the prophet says the best is yet to come because we need to climb the mountain of the Lord and be instructed in his ways of peace.” St. Paul knows the best is yet to come as he says, “Throw off all the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” What needs to change in our lives, so the best will come? Jesus knows the best is yet to come as he simply says, “Stay awake for you do not know when I will return.” 

You see, each time we light these candles we are changed, but God’s promise never changes! His promise to be with us, to come again is still right in front of us. My friends in Christ, I love you, all very much, but you cannot stay here! If we truly believe the best is yet to come then our lives are different and we need to go out there and let the message of the best is yet to come be known out there. 

This Eucharist is God offering us his best. May we live Advent trusting that the best is yet to come!

True and lasting Joy!

 

Thanksgiving Day

Sirach 50: 22-24

 I Corinthians 1: 3-9

Luke 17: 11 – 19 

If we are not grateful to God for everything in our lives, we will never obtain the true joy that our hearts are designed to know, because our hearts are built for long term joy! 

We seldom know this long-term joy, because we only give thanks to God for what God has done in our lives. Long-term, lasting joy comes to us when we thank God for the good he has done in our lives, and the good he is working on to bring about his good. Instead of begging God today for whatever we want, let’s just thank God, for all he is doing in our lives, and then true joy will be known in our lives. 

Our scriptures help us in this quest. The writer of Sirach says, “May God grant you joy of heart and know peace in all you do.” Paul says, “You already have everything you need because all the spiritual gifts have been given to you.” Our Gospel today tells of only one leper who returns to Christ and gives thanks for everything. The only way this man gets to encounter Jesus Christ his Lord and savior is through his illness. We do not want to be like the nine, who did not give thanks! 

On this day of Thanksgiving, may we take the opportunity to share with someone how they have been a blessing to us?   

The Eucharist, we share is God sharing his very best with us. May we never tire of receiving this gift.

 

 

 

No need to worry!

 

Wednesday Thirty- Fourth Week Ordinary Time

Revelation 15:1-4

Luke 21: 12-19

Who has everything in order for Thanksgiving? Who has more to worry about? We as humans cannot help but worry at times because we are programmed to worry. In the spiritual life, worry is the first step to holiness and faithfulness. When we worry, our spirit is telling us to ‘take it to God.’ 

Our reading from the book of Revelation teaches us the second step, which is, even if we do not understand what is going on, give praise and glory to God. Always give praise and honor to God! 

In our Gospel, Jesus is warning his disciples for what they might not understand and that is they are going to suffer greatly because of him. He is telling them not worry, trust me. Jesus never seemed to have a worry in the world. When things got confusing, he took it to the Father. Jesus is constantly telling us not to worry. 

Today as we go through our day, know that the evil one is going to do his best to make us worry, but do not fall for his tricks. Take everything to the Father, and know we are his children, and he will take care of us. Our God is here to meet us right now, give all our worry to him.

 

Are we giving God our best!

 

Tuesday Thirty- Fourth Week Ordinary Time

St. Cecilia

Revelation 14:14-19

Luke 21: 5-11 

We have perfect readings for us today as we come to a close of another liturgical year and as we are about ready to celebrate Thanksgiving. The Church in her great wisdom has been pushing us to reflect on the end times when Christ will come again. I am not sure about you but with life being as complicated as it is, I really do not think much about the end of the world. However, a good spiritual practice is to think of the end times as the snap of our fingers. If the end of the world is (snap) then are we giving our very best to God right now? To think of the end of the world as the very next second, then we can perhaps invite grace into our lives when we are most vulnerable. 

In our first reading from the book of Revelation, the first half is all about the gathering of those whom have remained faithful to the Lamb and are being welcomed to their eternal reward.

The second half is to those who have not followed the ways of God and are being sent to their eternal condemnation. 

In our Gospel, Jesus tells of the great destruction of the great temple at Jerusalem. The Jewish people took great pride in their temple, a marvel of the ancient world. The foretelling of this destruction by Jesus was a warning to them to pay more attention to him, them the temple. They asked Jesus for a sign that would indicate when this disastrous event would occur. Jesus warns them to not look for signs that would indicate the exact timing of impending destruction, but rather to pray for God’s intervention of grace and mercy. 

As we approach Advent, we are reminded of being properly prepared for the coming of Christ. Can we do our best to live our faith right now, in prayer, thoughts, and actions? 

This Eucharist is a foretaste of the heavenly banquet.

 

Is Jesus King of our lives?

 

Solemnity of Christ the King

II Samuel 5:1-3

Colossians 1:12-20

Luke 23:35-43 

What we celebrate today in Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe has the potential to be a turning point in our lives. This year it coincides with the end of the Year of Mercy. This does not mean that mercy is all done, it means hopefully, we have learned to be more merciful. Would we be able to say today, “No matter what I am going through, I will make time for you and show mercy!” 

Our story today, hangs on the inscription over the head of Jesus that read, “This is the king of the Jews.” Jesus begins to be mocked and made fun of because of this inscription, and each time the mockery gets closer and closer. First he is mocked by the rulers, they would be standing in the distance but close enough for Jesus to hear. Then he is mocked by the soldiers standing around him, and finally he is mocked by a man who hangs on cross right next to him. They all mock him by saying, “If you are a King save yourself.” Jesus knows, it is not about saving himself, it is about experiencing the cross of mercy. What a shame, the first criminal gives his last breath jeering at Christ, the only one who could save him. 

Our Gospel writer Luke is the only one who has this account of the ‘good thief.’ Luke has something to teach us about mercy, and that is no matter what was happening to Jesus, he always shows mercy to those in his immediate concern. The second criminal is the only one whom truly believes the inscription over the head of Jesus and asks, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” That profession of faith gets this criminal so much more than just being remembered, he gains the mercy of Jesus, and eternal life.  

To have Jesus as our King it is not about arguing, finger pointing, or screaming at each other. It is about extending mercy to those whom we do not think deserves mercy. Those here today who are married and with families, it is hard work. As Christ as our King, can we be more attentive to someone else, no matter what is going on in our lives? Do we have the courage the wisdom to say, “How may I help you succeed today? How may I be better, at who I am? What are your needs that I am missing, that I need to more attentive too?” We might say something like this because we realize that we are better when we work together. 

My friends in Christ this feast day and has the potential to be a turning point in our lives. What we want to hear is Jesus saying to us, “Because of the mercy you have shown, today you will be with me in paradise.” May we find a way to be more merciful, as Jesus our King is merciful.