Sing with joy to God our help

I was thinking about my plans for the weekend with today being my last day of vacation. While reading this morning’s scripture, the Responsorial Psalm 81 “Sing with joy to God our help” summed up my hopes for the next few days.

Tonight, my group SIGN, Singing in God’s Name will be playing at the Memorial Mass of our priest and friend Fr. Tom Mullen. It is a great honor for us to be a part of this celebration of his life and priesthood. Fr. Tom was a very special friend to me and our group. Tonight we will “Sing with joy to God our help” for the repose of the soul of Fr. Tom.

Then tomorrow on Saturday, the first day of August, we are scheduled to play at the Vigil Mass. God is so good! I am so thankful that I have been given the gift of music and the opportunity to use my God-given talents to “Sing with joy to God our help.” 

Sports being another gift that I have been given and especially baseball, God willing, I will be able to enjoy the Freeway Series from Dodger Stadium, my Dodgers versus the Angels. It is usually a fun time to watch 2 Southern California teams, both in contention, compete in this great rivalry. Thanking God for the gift of sports, I “Sing with joy to God our help.”

God is good and with the joy that He offers me today and everyday, I “Sing with joy to God our help!”

Sing with joy to God our help

“Do You Understand All These Things?”

Jesus asks His disciples if they understand. They reply yes. He asks us the same and how do we reply? I reply with a yes, a much more confident yes today than many years ago because by the grace of God, I come to know Jesus more fully each day.

What does Jesus ask us to understand in Matthew 13:47-53?

“The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.”

It is pretty clear that at the end of the age, if we are wicked we are going to hell and if we are righteous we will live with God in heaven for eternity. The real question arises, what is being wicked and what is being righteous. I think we can be easily deceived if we follow the teachings of the world versus the teachings of Jesus and His church. For me personally, I seek to know Holy Scripture and the teachings of Holy Church and they differ greatly from the many teachings of the world and relativism. In relativism, he has one truth, she has one truth and so on and one agrees to disagree. But in Jesus Christ, there is only one truth and Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

The beautiful thing about our Christian faith is that even if we continue to disagree over extremely important issues that will affect our salvation, we should continue to pray for each other to know God’s will and truth as we continue our journey in Christ. Amen.

“Do You Understand All These Things?”

Saint Martha

In reading the Gospel today from Luke 10:38-42 on the Memorial of Saint Martha, I thought how often I have been like Martha and how often I have been like Mary, her sister. Lazarus, Martha and Mary were a close family and very close to Jesus as you might remember that Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead.

So the scripture says first that as Jesus entered their village, Martha welcomed Him. Already at the outset, Martha is very hospitable. Next we gather that she wants to make things nice for Jesus so she begins her chores to prepare to serve Him. Mary on the other hand, sits at the feet of Jesus to listen to Him and enjoy His company.

If we just stop there, it might seem a little unfair that Martha is the only one working. She obviously felt that way as this passage points out…

Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”

One might agree with Martha and urge Jesus to make it fair and tell Mary to help. But low and behold, Jesus teaches us something very important about Martha and Mary and about ourselves in our daily lives…

The Lord said to her in reply, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

We know that we all have responsibilities in our lives. Things we have to do. I think the message I hear is that I have to bring them to the Lord and take the time to choose the better part which is Jesus and His will for me. He knows what I need to accomplish that glorifies Him so like Mary, I want to listen and then like Martha, I want to serve.

Even today when I went to the Chapel to spend time with the Blessed Sacrament, I was anxious about things. I could not settle in and the hour I planned to spend seemed to pass so slowly. God though is amazing and once I was able to let go and just spend time in His presence, 90 minutes had gone by. That old saying we use often applied to me today, “Let go and let God.” Saint Martha, pray for us!

Saint Martha

Wheat Or Weeds?

“He who sows good seed is the Son of Man”

“The field is the world”

“The good seed the children of the Kingdom”

“The weeds are the children of the Evil One”

“The enemy who sows them is the Devil”

“The harvest is the end of the age”

“The harvesters are angels”

“Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age.”

“Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

I am listening Lord but I have been such a weed so many times in my life. One thing the Lord said today that really caught my attention. I know I am a sinner and throw myself on the mercy of God. But I read this from Matthew 13:36-43…

“The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his Kingdom all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.”

Causing others to sin! Today I am more keenly aware of my speech and actions. I desire God’s mercy and I must give God’s mercy to all. I sincerely try to be Christ to all the people in my life. Does my silence at times on issues breathe acceptance that might cause others to sin? I hope not. I have become so less opinionated but I am prepared to give a defense of my faith. I have chosen to not push my faith on anyone though I try to share it daily in these reflections. Jesus will separate the wheat from the weeds. May God have mercy on all of our weedy moments and bring us into His Kingdom of wheat. Amen.

Wheat Or Weeds?

God Growing In Me

From Matthew 13:31-35…

“The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.”

I think God plants a seed in me. Maybe it’s a thought I am wrestling with. I am home on vacation and I have a delivery tomorrow. I keep thinking I should go down and arrange the den, clean and make it easier for the delivery. When I woke up and after prayer, I forced myself to go to the den and start.

The seed was planted and if I am open to God’s Divine Grace, it will grow. A simple thought ended up being 5 hours of work blessed by God. Maybe it’s not the best analogy but I can see by reading this passage today that God wants to grow in us abundantly. I think He needs our faith and willingness to cooperate with His grace to allow our meager efforts to grow into something very beautiful for the glory of God.

God Growing In Me

God Provides And Multiplies

In today’s first reading from 2 Kings 4:42-44, there were 20 barley loaves for a hundred people. The prophet Elisha said to his servant to give it to the people to eat but his servant objected because it was not enough. The passage continues…

Elisha insisted, “Give it to the people to eat.” “For thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.’” And when they had eaten, there was some left over, as the LORD had said.

The Gospel reading today from John 6:1-15 continues the theme as Jesus tells His disciples to feed five thousand plus people. I really like the two responses that were given to Jesus. Phillip said…

“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.”

Then Andrew followed up with…

“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?”

This reminds me of thought processes that I go through in situations that seem overwhelming. The impossible thought and then the solution that most likely will not work. These are thoughts that I make when I attempt to solve things on my own without seeking the Wisdom of God. Jesus multiplies the five barley loaves and the two fish and feeds everyone and there were 12 wicker baskets with fragments left over. Message to me: Take the time to pray and seek God whenever I possibly can before acting. His ways are always better than mine.

God Provides And Multiplies

Elise, St. James And Birthday Blessings

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My beautiful granddaughter Elise was born 8 years ago on this date. We celebrate today the Feast of Saint James the Greater, an apostle of Jesus. As in every day of my life, I am thankful for the many blessings I am afforded by our Glorious God. Today I am so thankful for my grandchildren and my daughters who gave these great blessings to me!

I was thinking about St. James this morning and how he was working on a fishing boat when Jesus came by and said follow me, I will make you fishers of men. He left everything and followed Jesus. Then I think about Elise, my only granddaughter and how she has caught me, hook,, line and sinker. Her hugs, her kisses, her wisdom, her creativity, her playfulness and every grace given her from God has brought God’s fullness of love into my heart.

Happy birthday sweetheart! St. James, pray for us!

Elise, St. James And Birthday Blessings

Vacation Blessing

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Today begins the first day of my short vacation. I am blessed. I spent a time in an empty church as a wedding was going on in our chapel and then I spent time in the chapel before the Blessed Sacrament. To most, I get it! This is not how a vacation would be spent but for me, it is a perfect beginning.

My friends and especially those on Facebook, display great pictures of their travels and fun with their families and friends. It’s so awesome to see their enjoyment from their great experiences. I have been there and also enjoyed my times on past vacations but today, where God has taken me in life, I feel more blessed to spend it with Him in prayer, actually praying for you reading this and all the people in my life for God’s great blessings upon you.

Before God today, I scrolled Facebook posts and prayed for so much from our World, our president, our nations leaders, those who have died, for healing, for animals and whatever request I might find. I trust in the Lord and believe that He will answer all of my prayers, maybe not in the ways we might expect, but in the ways for our own good and the common good of all.

Today’s scripture reading from Exodus 20:1-17 gives us the 10 Commandments. I read one commentary today that mentioned they have become more like the 10 Suggestions as so many people tend to ignore them today. In the Gospel from Matthew 13:18-23, we hear the explanation of the Parable of the Sower. We all need to have good soil to be able to allow the Word of God to grow in us.

So day one of vacation was a great success. I tried being a real good hubby tonight by bringing dinner home to my wife who worked all day. Thanks be to God for all of His blessings. May we all enjoy His peace to begin our weekend! Amen.

Vacation Blessing

Blessed Are Your Eyes And Ears

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Jesus said to His disciples in the Gospel of Matthew 13:10-17…

“But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear. Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

We have the great benefit of reading and pondering the words of the Word made flesh. So when we read the above passage, we can know that Jesus is speaking to us as one of His disciples. Why are our eyes blessed? We have never seen Jesus in the flesh. Why are our ears blessed? We have never heard the actual voice of Jesus.

What we have seen and heard is Jesus revealed to us in scripture, our spouse, our children, our brothers and sisters, our neighbors and even our enemies. He is revealed in nature and in every gift we have been given. Do we hear and recognize His voice through others? Do we see and recognize Him in others?

God is everywhere! In today’s first reading from Exodus 19, He spoke to Moses and His people from the mountain. I do not think anyone had a problem hearing God…

“there were peals of thunder and lightning, and a heavy cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled…The smoke rose from it as though from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently. The trumpet blast grew louder and louder, while Moses was speaking and God answering him with thunder.”

I think today God speaks more in whispers and I must be open to receive His grace to open my eyes and ears to His presence in all things. At times, I am able to see and hear God most clearly when I let go and surrender myself to His will. When I hold onto my selfish tendencies and seek my own self gratification, I lose sight of God and seek my own will which takes me down paths where the only way Jesus can get my attention, for my own good, is with trumpet blasts, smoke, thunder and some trembling and sometimes that can hurt.

Blessed Are Your Eyes And Ears

Saint Mary Magdalene

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Today is the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene and I can relate well with her in many ways. Today’s Gospel from John 20:1-18 reminds us that she was the first person recorded in scripture to see Jesus after His resurrection. But what I relate to most was that she was a sinner and Jesus cast out 7 demons from her. Many scripture scholars I am told relate this to the seven deadly sins.

From deadlysins.com website:

Pride is excessive belief in one’s own abilities, that interferes with the individual’s recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity.

Envy is the desire for others’ traits, status, abilities, or situation.

Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.

Lust is an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body.

Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. It is also known as Wrath.

Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.

Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.

In my journey, I am guilty of all and daily must seek God’s grace to fight off the temptations of all these capital sins. Without God, I think we are all capable of burying ourselves in these sins as well as breaking all the 10 Commandments. St. Mary Magdalene found Jesus and remained loyal to Him even at the cross. I hope to do the same. St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us.

Saint Mary Magdalene