Sodom and Gomorrah

Today, Genesis 19:15-29 tells about the heartbreaking destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. I say heartbreaking because we are taught to love everyone and often go about saying hate the sin but love the sinner. But God wiped out everyone in punishment!

I try to think how I would explain that and then I remember God is God and I am not. I believe God is a just God and a very merciful God. What I hear being spoken to me is to listen to God and be obedient to His will. In Sodom and Gomorrah, God’s children did not listen and sin was rampant. Even for the sake of Abraham, God spoke to Lot and told him to leave with his wife and two daughters that they would be spared. After a conversation, they were told what to do and what not to do. But Lot’s wife disobeyed the Lord by looking back and was turned into a pillar of salt. Lot and his two daughters did obey.

I want to obey God and not sin. I am too often unsuccessful. God seemingly gives me chance after chance thankfully by the blood of Jesus. Today’s reading wakes me up and helps me to realize how blessed I am.

Let’s pray for the ears to listen to God and the courage to be obedient to His Holy Will. Maybe just maybe that little part about Lot’s wife looking back is a reminder for me to focus on the straight and narrow road to eternal life and not to look back on my crooked, pot-holed and unpaved road that I have traveled to get to where I am today. God have mercy on us all!

Sodom and Gomorrah

Peter And Paul

From what I have come to understand about these 2 great Saints, I am a big fan of St. Peter and St. Paul. In some of Peter’s story in the Gospel’s and other letters of scripture, I can relate. Denying Jesus I can relate very well to as well as being extremely sorrowful for my sins. St. Paul is different for me. He had such great knowledge and passion for His Jewish faith that he would go to the extreme of persecuting and even killing Christians because they were challenging the laws he passionately believed in. I still feel like I am in the infant stages of my faith and though I feel very passionate about it, I am still somewhat reserved in what I share. Maybe my concept of loving the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and loving my neighbor as myself is too calm. For me though, it seems right.

The story in Acts 12 today is one I have always liked. Peter is imprisoned “under the guard of four squads of four soldiers each.” I’m pretty sure they did not want him to escape and keep preaching that craziness of Jesus Christ. Next is a very powerful statement to me that I cannot let get past me. It says, “Peter thus was being kept in prison, but prayer by the Church was fervently being made to God on his behalf.” The power of the prayer of the Church, your prayers, my prayers and all prayers can have great benefits.

What did happen was an Angel of the Lord woke Peter up, “the chains fell from his wrists,” he was told to put on some clothes and sandals and to follow the Angel. The Angel took him right past the guards to an iron gate which opened by itself and led him to freedom. It got me to reflect a little about the power of prayer. My relationship with Jesus has grown much over the past years. I am sure I have been prayed for by the church, family, friends and even people I do not know. What an awesome gift I have been given. And I can happily say that this is one gift I can pay forward as I pray much for you reading this and all the people in my life in any way. I thank God for you! God bless you all!

Peter And Paul

“Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

Happy Lord’s Day to you. 2 awesome stories from today’s Gospel of Mark. One tells of a prominent Jew name Jairus who asks Jesus to come and heal his very sick daughter. Jesus agrees but on the way, the little girl dies. Jesus goes anyway and raises the little girl from the dead. Just to finish, He tells those there to get her something to eat! Always looking out for our needs.

The story though that I want to share is the woman with hemorrhages. She had spent all her money to get healed and nothing work. In those days, women who were bleeding were considered unclean and were forbidden to touch anyone. She thought that if she could just touch the cloak of Jesus, she would be cured. Number 1 point for me, is that my prayer or my desires that I bring to Jesus must be grounded in faith that if Jesus wants to, He will do it.

She does touch His cloak and is healed. Jesus was aware that power went out from Him and asked who touched Him? No pun here but the woman had to come clean with Jesus and tell Him the story. That’s when Jesus tells her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

What stirred in me reading this was music. Somehow, music can heal me in so many ways. I do not listen much to music anymore but I still play a lot. Sitting at the piano and just pounding out tunes and singing puts me in such great moods. This gift of music from God has gone through many phases. I started out wanting to be a star. I practiced and got better and had some 15 minutes of fame. I had a superior attitude and through the years have been knocked off my high horse. Now I play for God’s glory and the blessings are abundant. Thanks be to God!

“Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”

Lord, I Am Not Worthy

In today’s Gospel from Matthew 8:5-17, a centurion approached Jesus and said, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” Jesus did not hesitate and said to him, “I will come and cure him.”

I thought that in itself to be pretty amazing. The centurion was not a Jew but he believed that Jesus could heal his servant. When Jesus said yes, the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.”

None of us are worthy for the Lord to enter under our roofs. What would Jesus find if He entered our homes or apartments? Jesus knows all things. What kind of things have we done behind closed doors that Jesus knows about but we have kept secret? What do we have laying around or stored up that Jesus might find offensive? I have had much hidden in my closet. I find that little by little I am trying to clean up my house.

As a catholic, when the priest holds up the Eucharist before we come to communion, we respond, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” Then we receive Jesus, fully in the Eucharist, under the roof of our bodies, fully living inside of us. What does Jesus find when He does enter under our roof? Is there great joy? Is there sorrow for offending Him? Is there sin? Is there desire for repentance? Are we on fire for Jesus? Are we lukewarm?

Jesus told the centurion, “You may go; as you have believed, let it be done for you.” The scripture passage says “And at that very hour his servant was healed.” I do not think Jesus expects us to be perfect and sinless. But I do think He wants us to know that we are not worthy but because He loves us so much, He wants us to be open to receive Him and let Him in. And like the centurion, we hope to hear Jesus say, “let it be done for you.” And at that very moment, our soul was healed.

Lord, I Am Not Worthy

Peace Be With You

In lieu of today’s Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage, I pray for peace and will choose another day to talk about a 99 year old Abraham, prostrate on the ground, laughing to himself that God would tell him his 89 year old wife Sarah would bear him a child. A good reminder that “all things are possible for God.”

I love my Catholic/Christian faith. I profess to live it fully to the best of my ability to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and to love my neighbor as myself. As wrong as I think today’s Supreme Court decision is, I am at peace, trusting in God and His church that the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. I hope we all accept God’s grace, which falls on the just and unjust, to love and care for each other even when we may disagree as we all seek God’s truth. There can be so much hate on both sides. Love endures all things. May God bless us all in His great mercy and grant us His peace. Amen

Peace Be With You

I Never Knew You. Depart From Me, You Evildoers

Today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 7:21-29 can be a real awakening for people like me. I have felt this calling to write everyday about the daily scripture readings. I then share what I think or maybe something in my life that relates to what the passage is saying to me. When people who think they are following Jesus by prophesying, driving out demons and doing mighty deeds in the name of Jesus hear Him say, “I Never Knew You. Depart From Me, You Evildoers“, that is a wake-up call.

Why would He say that to them? He clarifies it by saying that only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven will enter the Kingdom of heaven. My understanding is that we can use God’s name to bring us glory, to make others think we are pious and walk this life as if we are something special.

Jesus talks about listening to His Words but also to act on them. Are we wise and build our house on solid rock or are we fools and build our house on sand? Jesus’ Words are truth. He is truth. I cannot have my truth and you have your truth. There is only one truth. It seems like there will be plenty of wise people in heaven and plenty of fools in hell. This world has so much division in it and even though we know that our Lord is a merciful God, we have to listen, act, repent and be willing to accept His mercy.

Let us all wake up and unite ourselves in the truth of Jesus Christ. I, as one who claims to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, I cannot imagine facing Jesus on the day of judgment and hearing these words, “I Never Knew You. Depart From Me, You Evildoers.” While there is still, by the grace of God, breath in each of us, let us ask the Holy Spirit that our hearts may be open to the Word of God, open to good and open to the beauty of God everyday. Lord, have mercy on me a sinner. Amen.

I Never Knew You. Depart From Me, You Evildoers

John The Baptist

Today, the church celebrates the “Solemnity of the Nativity of Saint John The Baptist.” I have always thought of John The Baptist as a very humble man. I have spent much of my life trying to be the center of attention to get people to notice me for my own glory. John the Baptist models the person I would rather be today. He always pointed other people to Jesus and not to himself. To John, it was all about God’s glory as he said, “I am not worthy to unfasten the sandals of His feet.”

John stood for the truth. He knew he was not God, not the Messiah and that his role was to bring all to repentance as the Kingdom of God was now at hand. I remember him saying, “He must increase, I must decrease.” If I had to live by a motto, I think that might be the one I would choose. It is no longer Mike that lives but Christ who lives in and through Mike.

Remember how John died? Without going too far into the story, Herod liked to listen to John and John even told him that it was wrong for him to divorce his wife and take his brother’s wife Herodias. She was even more ticked off with John as at a drunken King’s party, her daughter Salome danced for Herod and he promised Salome up to half of his kingdom. You remember that she asked, at the request of her mother, for the head of John The Baptist. So Herod had John beheaded.

But today in the Gospel of Luke 1, it is all about the birth of John which is another great story concerning his father Zechariah. Hopefully, you can read it (Luke 1:57-80) What really stands out for me from the story is that God can do anything! An Angel of the Lord told Zechariah that his wife Elizabeth would have a son and he would be called John, even though she was barren and extremely old. He questioned the Angel in a doubtful way that God could actually do this. God silenced him until John was born.

When the Lord speaks to us through His chosen vehicles, Angels, husbands, wives, neighbors, friends, enemies, co-workers, nature, etc., we should open our hearts, minds & ears to listen, pray, discern and trust the Lord. His will be done, not mine.

Saint John The Baptist, pray for us! Amen.

John The Baptist