The Lord Is Faithful

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Whenever I read these words, “The Lord Is Faithful In All His Words” which comes from today’s Responsorial Psalm 145, my first thought is I am not faithful. In my journey through life I have made so many mistakes, taken so many people for granted and selfishly put me first above others. But, because God is faithful, He tells and shows us through scripture that He, though almighty and powerful, is a very loving and merciful God.

There is still hope for me and all, that through His grace, He will make us strong enough to walk the straight and narrow path with Him, and one day enter through the narrow gate that he speaks about in today’s Gospel from Luke 13:22-30. May God have mercy on us all. 

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Mike Burke; Wednesday, October 26, 2016
The Lord Is Faithful

“ONE” Is Not The Loneliest Number

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Oh my, which scripture passage should I reflect on today?

  1. The Kingdom of God is like a mustard seed that a man took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush andthe birds of the sky dwelt in its branches” orlike yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.”

or

  1. “Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the Church, he himself the savior of the Body. As the Church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything.” 

I have heard so many interpretations of number 2. I do not have to understand what it means. All I really need to do is to know my loving and merciful Heavenly Father, my loving and merciful Lord and Savior Jesus and the power of their love in the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave His life for us, the Church. I am to love my wife as Christ loved the Church. He died for it. I must die for her.

Our God created man and woman to complement each other giving us equal dignity. Why would we want to cause separation between us by ever thinking that one is greater than the other? The two become ONE flesh. ONE! EQUAL! As Jesus tells us often to love one another as I have loved you. We know how He loved us. Praise and Glory to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Mike Burke; Tuesday, October 25, 2016
“ONE” Is Not The Loneliest Number

Be Good, Do Good, Be Light

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Being good and doing good are two different things said our priest in a homily this weekend. One can do good but still be evil in the heart. I bring this up today because St. Paul shares an important teaching in Ephesians 4. I often share my feelings of the world being a great mess. We lack unity in character and moral values. Relativity seems to be the new world order that whatever one believes to be true is true when the way, the truth and the life is Jesus. St. Paul spells out truth today. I will let his words speak for itself…

Brothers and sisters: Be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma. Immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be mentioned among you, as is fitting among holy ones, no obscenity or silly or suggestive talk, which is out of place, but instead, thanksgiving. Be sure of this, that no immoral or impure or greedy person, that is, an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient. So do not be associated with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.

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Mike Burke; Monday, October 24, 2016
Be Good, Do Good, Be Light

A Parable Of Humility

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Jesus shares a parable today about a Pharisee who in praying thanked God that I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.” In the parable, there was also a tax collector as the Pharisee mentioned that “would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, ‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’” 

This Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector from the Gospel of Luke 18 reminds me that I have been both the Pharisee and the Tax Collector throughout my journey with the Lord. I am reminded that no matter how close I think I am with the Lord, how great my prayer life is or even how blessed I think I am, I cannot be the Pharisee. The following words from Jesus encourage me to be a humble sinner like the Tax Collector as He says, “I tell you, the latter (Tax Collector) went home justified, not the former (Pharisee); for whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

I can never know the heart and soul of a person. Only God knows. If I humble myself, there will never be a need to judge another but only to love my neighbor as Jesus has commanded. In honesty and truth, I have no room to judge another’s heart or intentions. I will need to leave that for the Lord.

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Mike Burke; Sunday, October 23, 2016
A Parable Of Humility

Exhausting The Soil?

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I was thinking that a good title for today’s scripture reflection might be that bad things happen to good people. We know that to be true. We wonder how good people in our lives become afflicted with illness, trials and even death. I am not sure if the Galileans or the people at Siloam were “good people” but Jesus today poses some questions in the Gospel of Luke 13:1-9 to make a point about repentance and He tells us … Some people told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices. He said to them in reply, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were greater sinners than all other Galileans? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did! Or those eighteen people who were killed when the tower at Siloam fell on them–do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!”

A definition of repentance that I like says “Voluntary sorrow because it offends God, for having done something wrong, together with the resolve to amend one’s conduct by taking the necessary means to avoid the occasions of sin. To repent is to be sorry for sin with self-condemnation. (Etym. Latin repoenitere, to be very sorry, regret intensely.)” 

I believe that God is so merciful, and there is no sin of mine, that He will not forgive. God loves me so much, that is not in question, but what is in question, is how much do I love God and am willing to accept and cooperate His grace to repent. I think that God has been more than patient with me. I have fallen to sin, over and over, and continue to return to Him, begging Him again, for His mercy. How long will His patience last? The second half of today’s Gospel sheds some light … And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”

When I continue to sin and am not open to use all the gifts I have been given to build God’s Kingdom, I “exhaust the soil”, but with my repentance and God’s mercy, I am fertilized by Jesus, the gardener in His mercy. His grace helps me bear fruit. But back to my original thought, even cooperating with the grace of God, bad things may still happen, even when I am good and producing fruit because following Jesus is the way of the cross. So yes, bad things do happen to good people and we are called to continue to pick up our cross and follow Jesus.

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Mike Burke; Saturday, October 22, 2016
Exhausting The Soil?

Happy Birthday Duane Allen

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It is hard for me to believe that my best friend and music partner Duane Allen, would have turned 79 years old today. Duane passed away in May of 2003. Those who had the privilege to know this gentle giant of a man will tell many stories of his days as a professional football player primarily with the Los Angeles Rams & Chicago Bears, his bouts as a professional wrestler, his acting career, his coaching career and his music career with me for over 25 years. But, they will also tell you about his sacrifice, love and care for everyone who came into his life.

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Today’s Gospel passage from Luke 12 has Jesus telling us to do what is right. If we have problems with others, settle them before taking them before a magistrate who just may rule in your opponents favor. I bring this up because Duane was a powerful athletic man. He could have settled many things physically and I believe come away the winner. His demeanor though, “off the field”, was one of kindness, care and concern for the welfare of others. I may be wrong in saying this but I believe it to be true. In the music business, especially playing the nightclub circuits, there were times that club owners would not want to pay full value if crowds were sparse. Duane always handled the business end and I, and if anyone else was playing with us, always received full pay. I think Duane paid often out of his own pocket so that we would be compensated properly. That speaks volumes for the tremendous man he was.

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Happy birthday Duane. I pray for you every day. My hope is that you are now with our Heavenly Father, Jesus and all the saints in Heaven. I hope that I will one day join you again and together we can sing praises to our God. 

Mike Burke; Friday, October 21, 2016
Happy Birthday Duane Allen

A Prayer For Us

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This day as I was reading scripture, I thought about how awesome is the grace we are given of praying for others as well as being prayed for. In Ephesians 3, St. Paul prays for all of us. This is such an awesome prayer, that no words from me will do it justice. He prays …

Brothers and sisters: I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

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Mike Burke; Thursday, October 20, 2016
A Prayer For Us

Coheirs With Christ

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This week of reading scripture has been very different for me. I have been very inspired to pray more, read slowly and ask questions. The results are amazing to me. I do not think my writing will be different or more inspiring but I have received a grace that I am loved by our Heavenly Father beyond any measure I could possibly share.

I focus very much on my sinfulness. I know how weak I am as a disciple of Jesus and I tend to share that a lot in my writing. When I read passages from scripture, especially the Gospels, I can easily point to the sinner I am. I do think it is important to recognize the sin in me so that I can ask for help to be a better version of who I was created to be. But in spite of my sins, I am truly loved by God and that message seems to be much clearer to me.

St. Paul, in Ephesians 3, talks about being given an insight to the mystery of Christ. That insight was given only to him, the apostles and disciples by the power of the Holy Spirit. That revelation was great news for us “that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same Body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.” We are those same Gentiles. As a father, my children are welcome to everything I have. They are coheirs. How much greater is it for each of us to know that everything our Heavenly Father has is for us as coheirs with Christ!

Thank you Heavenly Father for this promise of adoption for us. Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus, gave His life out of love for us in doing Your Holy Will. In the Spirit of love and thanksgiving, all glory and praise is Yours Father through your Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, Amen.

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Mike Burke; Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Coheirs With Christ

Lambs Among Wolves

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The Gospel Acclamation today is from John 15:16-17. If I was ever to wonder if my life has any meaning or if God has a purpose for me, these few words should answer any doubts I might have. Jesus says … It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.

Sometimes my thought process has it backwards. With my free will, I think that I came up with the plan to pick up my cross and follow Jesus. I know the truth, that Jesus chose me and gives me sufficient grace to bear fruit in loving others like He loves me. There is my cross, to love one another. Jesus, in today’s Gospel from Luke 10:1-9, appoints 72 disciples to be sent to every town He plans to visit. He gives them explicit directions and tells them they will be sent like “lambs among wolves.”

In understanding His words, loving others will not be easy. Putting others needs before my own is not easy. Being patient with someone who is unreasonable is not easy. Caring for someone who does not like me is not easy. If I believe the words of Jesus, I am told that in my journey to bear fruit in loving others, my Heavenly Father will give me whatever I ask in Jesus’ name. Do I really believe that? I will tell you today that I do but I will also tell you that my words too often speak louder than my actions. Reading this passage, my desire to speak Christ must be accompanied by being Christ for others.

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Mike Burke; Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Lambs Among Wolves

Rest, Eat, Drink, Be Merry

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What matters to God? I guess each of us will answer that question based on our relationship with our Lord. My answer would be that we love Him with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength and that we love everyone. Love is probably the simple answer, which would make me rich in God, as He is love. In the Gospel today from Luke 12:13-21, Jesus tells the Parable of the Rich Fool. It is about a rich man that had so much that he built larger barns to store everything in it so that he could rest, eat, drink and be merry.

I know I have bought into that lie in my lifetime. I grew up striving to be the best, wanting lots of money and things and believing that I would be a failure if I did not achieve these goals. It has taken me such a long time to believe and understand that what matters to God is what is most important and the only way to know what is important to Him is to spend time and have a great relationship with Him.

One can reach the top of the world with fame, success, money, things and everything else the world offers. I work at a college and I see students day in and day out pressured to succeed by the expectations of their parents, professors and themselves to compete for worldly honor. What happens when the do achieve their goals to succeed? Like the rich man in today’s parable, will they work so hard to store up all their riches, to retire early and rest, eat, drink and be merry?

If so, this is what God tells the rich man today … You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong? Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” I have heard it said, “When you die, you can’t take it with you.” So the question again that begs to be answered for your life is, “What matters to God?”

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Mike Burke; Monday, October 17, 2016
Rest, Eat, Drink, Be Merry