What is unfinished in our life?

 

Tuesday of the Third week of Ordinary Time

II Samuel 6:12-15, 17-19

Mark 3:31- 35

 

Last night I attended the “Mass for the Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.” I am really glad I did attend, the liturgy was wonderful, the homily was outstanding, and the three people who spoke at the end each gave heroic speeches about the sanctity of life. I attended because I felt I had put on hold somethings in my spiritual life that I needed to get going again and this was one of those areas. I have not gone on the March for Life, and I have never stood outside of an abortion clinic. There has always been something deep within me pushing me to do something because it is unfinished business and this issue needs me to stand up and do something.

 

In our first reading, since we last heard about David last Friday, he is now the king, he has captured the city of Jerusalem from the Jebusites, and King David has the vision to make the city of Jerusalem the religious capital of the world. To do this, he has to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. The first time that King David tried to bring the Ark to Jerusalem it began to tip over, and a man named Uzzah reached out his hand to steady it, and God struck him down dead. This caused everyone great fear, so the procession stopped, and the ark was put in the home of Obededom. After three months King David knew this was unfinished business, so he went and got the Ark and brought it to Jerusalem and all along the way he danced with great abandonment.

 

In our Gospel, there is unfinished business as Jesus redefines what family means. The understanding Jesus wants for us to have is it is no longer about being related by blood, but by a mission to follow him. Jesus redefines family to be anyone who does the will of my father. 

 

As we gather is there anything in our lives that we have put on hold and now need to get going again? God will help us complete what he wants to be done in our lives because he is a God that finishes things! Let is complete what God has begun.

 

 

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Come follow me!

 

Third Sunday Ordinary Time

Jonah 3:1-5, 10

I Corinthians 7:29-31

Mark 1:14-20

 

I am wondering if your life is a bit like mine where we have our daily routines and our week has a rhythm to it. My week sort of goes like this, Monday is always about doing things in slow motion. Tuesday is a day to hit the ground running with meetings all day, and in the evening. Wednesday is meetings in morning and reading in the afternoon. Thursday is more of the same and Friday is All School Mass which is always something to look forward to, and I try and take fewer appointments so I can spend more time reflecting on the weekend. Saturday is pray, pray, and pray and the afternoon is pedal to the metal with confessions and Mass. Sunday is my foot is on the gas, and it is full throttle. Now maybe you do not have the same schedule as I do but our lives to follow a routine. Each day in our ordinary lives we need to answer God asking us, “Come follow me?” How do we respond when Jesus calls us by name during our ordinary lives?

 

The book of Jonah is an interesting read because Jonah is just an ordinary guy, he is not a prophet, and he is just going about his daily life when God calls him. The first time God calls Jonah to follow him, God tells him to go to Nineveh which is east of where he is, and Jonah goes west to Tarshish. Jonah runs away from God, he eventually spends three days in the belly of a whale, and as Jonah 2:10 says, ‘he gets spewed out’ but by what end? God tells him to go to Nineveh a second time and this time he goes, but when the Ninevites repent and to the Lord God Jonah gets angry. Jonah is what we do not want to be, which is to hear God calling us by name from our ordinary lives and tell God “no” I do not want to do what you want me to do!

 

In our Gospel, the first disciples were just going about their ordinary jobs of fishing; they were casting their nets, pulling them in, and casting the net again. Simon, Andrew, James, and John are not looking for a career change, Jesus shows up and says, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men,” and they all abandoned their nets and followed Jesus. What is interesting is Jesus does not give them something new, he takes the skills they have to get fish and transforms it to catch people with the Good News.

 

What happens to me most of the time when in my ordinary life, I hear Jesus calling me to follow him, I respond, “Ok, where are we going? What am I going to be doing? How long will I be away?” The Good News of Jesus Christ is he does come to us in our ordinary lives, he takes what we have and transforms to his mission. We may have to leave some things behind, but we must follow Jesus where ever he leads us. In this Eucharist how will we respond and how will we be changed in Christ?

It is not are we qualified, but to know we are callified to be a disciple of Jesus Christ!

 

Friday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

I Samuel 24:3-21

Mark 3:13-19

 

Who will share with me, when was the last time you were called to be part of a great event with other people? Ex. School, sports, or outside activity.

 

In our Gospel Jesus is having large crowds following him as he travels around preaching, teaching and healing people. As Jesus goes up a mountain, he stops surveys the crowd and chooses some from among the crowds to become part of a very select group of people that he calls apostles. Stop here and pick a few kids by name.

 

What is important is Jesus does the choosing, none of those chosen respond, “I am not worthy, you have the wrong person. I am not able to help you because I do not want to do this kind of work?” All those chosen respond wholeheartedly to being called apostles. The name apostle means “to be sent.”

 

The other thing that is amazing to me is Jesus gives the apostles the same power to teach and to heal as that he has been given by his Father. Jesus did not have to do this, he could have only given them some power, but he gives them all the power they will need.

 

As we gather we need to know that God is calling each of us by name to the greatest event of all time which is the building up the kingdom of God here on earth. Jesus is giving to us the same power he gave the apostles to teach and to heal. All we have to do is respond to this call, and he will do the rest.

 

Are we willing to accept this call to be apostles of Jesus Christ? Who will accept this challenge? We now need to give evidence of this in our lives this day.

 

 

Be a good friend!

 

Thursday of the Second Week of Ordinary Time

I Samuel 18:6-9, 19:1-7

Mark 3:7-12

 

Yesterday, I called an old friend, Fr. Dan Murphy. Fr. Dan was my spiritual director while I was in seminary in Milwaukee. I credit him with a big part of being ordained to the priesthood. When Fr. Dan and I got together, he would listen to me with his whole heart, and he would hold my life with great care. He would take all the horrible things I told him and turn them into blessings. He would give me words of encouragement when I could not find the way to hope. Fr. Dan is one of those people who is a true friend for life, and to this day he continues to inspire me to be a good priest. How are we a good friend today?

 

In our first reading, Saul is not a good friend to David as he is jealous of David and all his popularity for slaying the giant Goliath. King Saul is so envious that he is plotting ways to have David killed. King Saul has a son, and his name is Jonathan, and he and David are very good friends. Jonathan talks with his father and convinces him to welcome David back to the kingdom. Jonathon is such a good friend that he is not envious or jealous of David, by birth Jonathan should be the next king, but he allows the will of God to work through David to succeed Saul as king.

 

In our Gospel, there are large crowds that are drawn to Jesus, and it is not because of his looks, although our modern day movies always have Jesus as a fairly good-looking man. It was not his physical attractiveness that people were drawn to him. What drew people to Jesus was his ability to be a good friend, someone they could count on to be there with they needed him. Jesus was someone who would speak words of encouragement when people were feeling down. Jesus had a huge following because he spoke to people’s hearts and he held their lives in his heart.  

 

How can we be a better friend today, to those people God has entrusted to us?

Do we say words of blessings!

 

Wednesday of the Second week

of Ordinary Time

I Samuel 17:32-33, 40-51

Mark 3:1-6

St. Anthony the Abbot

 

 

Do we realize the power of our words? Words have the power to lift us up when we are feeling defeated, or they have the power to chip away at our armor. Our readings bring us to understand the power that words have in our lives.

 

In our first reading, I can imagine Saul felt pretty defeated as Goliath the giant Philistine comes out every day and taunts the Israelites army. David comes along and says words of great encouragement when he says, “Do not lose courage, I got this.” Saul uses his words to discourage David from fighting Goliath, the giant because David is just a youth. David speaks words of great truth in the face of evil because of his faith in God to protect him.

 

In our Gospel, imagine how Jesus felt in the synagogue with everyone looking at him wondering if he is going to heal a man with a withered hand. Jesus knows the thoughts of those in the synagogue that day so he brings the man to the middle of the room so all could see and he speaks words of healing in the face of evil. No one says a word, as the Pharisees leave planning on how they will put him to death. Jesus is saying, “I need to be the Lord of your hearts.” Jesus always spoke words of truth in the face of evil so people’s lives could be healed.

 

How will our words stand up to the giants of evil in our lives? How will our words bring about healing? In this Eucharist Jesus says words of love and healing to us, may we believe in the promises of Jesus.

 

 

What is in our heart?

 

Tuesday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

I Samuel 16:1-13

Mark 2:23-28

 

What is in our hearts today? We need to answer this question and give it to God. There are times when I look into my heart I see all my imperfections, my struggles and I am filled with fear and doubt. What is in our hearts today? Whatever is in our hearts, God wants to heal us from it.

 

In our first reading from I Samuel the first thing that is in Samuel’s heart is fear and doubt. He does not want to fill his horn with oil and go to Bethlehem and anoint a new king. The second thing that is in Samuel’s heart in the wrong judgment as he gets to Jesse’s home and wants to anoint Eliab, the oldest son. Luckily, Samuel as an attentive heart as he continues to search for the right son until he asks, “Do you have any more?” Samuel anoints David, the youngest of all the sons of Jesse.

 

In our Gospel, what is in the heart of the Pharisees is fear, doubt, and judgment against Jesus. When Jesus allows his disciples to pull the grains of wheat off the stalks so they may have something to eat, the Pharisees are not attentive to God’s spirit and his grace as they seek to condemn Jesus.

 

What is in our hearts this day? What are the imperfections, the fears, doubts, and our judgments, that we need to face so that God can work in our lives? In this Eucharist, God sees all the possibilities for us by looking into our sincere hearts. May we know the grace of God as we look into our hearts?

 

 

What are you looking for?

 

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

I Samuel 3:3-10, 19

I Corinthians 6:13-15, 17-20

John 1:35-42

 

The other day, I misplaced my work keys. I realized it when I was walking down the hallway, and my right hand brushed up against the pocket of my pants, and I did not feel my keys in my pocket. I began to retrace all of my steps, and I went into panic mode. All the staff could tell I was looking for something and they asked, “What are you looking for?” I eventually found my keys on the corner of my desk. As I have been reflecting on our readings the question “What are we looking for?” is a good question to answer.

 

In our Gospel, Jesus turns to two of John the Baptist’s disciples, and asks, “What are you looking for?” This is a profound question, and it is a question that each one of us has to answer in our lives. Ultimately, the answer to that question determines the core of our relationship with Jesus Christ and shows us how we navigate through our lives. Even if we do not answer the question directly in our lives, we are always answering the question. Here is an example: Think of our last sin, or the last dumb thing we did, now what were we looking for? 

 

In our first reading, Samuel is looking for something, and I think what happens to Samuel is what we all should be attentive to in our spiritual lives. Samuel is sleeping and three times he hears his name being called and each time he gets up and goes to Eli who is an old man and can barely see and asks him what he wants. It is not until the last time that Eli figures out that it is the Lord that is calling Samuel. I believe in our spiritual lives; there is a heightened time to hear the word of God at is the time between sleeping and waking. I believe this because our bodies are waking up, our minds are not quite sure what is going on, and our spirit is fully awake. These few moments are a great time to hear the word of God and respond to God. Often, these few moments are times of great insight and clarity into struggles in my life. 

 

The disciples answer the question of “What are you looking for?” with, “Where are you staying?” Thank you, Jesus, for not responding with an address he simply says, “Come and see.” What Jesus is doing by responding this way, is inviting them into a firsthand experience, to come and see for themselves, because it is going to change their lives for the better. The experience of Jesus cannot be second-hand news. Would you rather be told of a beautiful sunset our experience it yourselves? Would you rather fall in love, or just be told that someone is in love? Would you rather be told of the nice weather in Florida or experience it yourself?

 

People of St. Patrick’s, “What are you looking for?” Hopefully in this Eucharist we will respond, “We are looking for you Lord, for we know that you have the answers and you give us purpose.”