Matthew 19:16-22 “The Rich Young Man”

I was thinking about the question that the rich young man asked Jesus. He called Him Teacher so it leads me to believe that He wanted to truly know the answer to his question.

“Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?”

Jesus tells Him that if he wishes to enter into life, keep the Commandments. As we will find out later, the rich man tells us he has been keeping the Commandments. Why in the world would he continue to ask Jesus more questions like…

“Which ones?”

Why would he ask that? He knew the Commandments and he knew that he observed all of them. Was his pride rearing up that He wanted a pat on the back or to hear Jesus say well done my good and faithful servant? It seems like he could have just let it go right there, continue living and observing the Commandments and enter life at the appropriate time! But no, he asks this question…

“What do I still lack?”

Well, he just opened the door to truth! I was thinking, what do I think Jesus would tell me if I asked Him this same question. But first, back to the rich man he said…

“If you wish to be perfect,* go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

And scripture says that “When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” I can honestly say that possessions are of little importance to me and that is only by the Grace of God. One of my daily prayers is Proverbs 30:7-9 which says, 2 things I ask of you, deny them not to me before I die; give me neither poverty nor riches; provide me only with the food I need lest being full I deny you saying “Who is the Lord?” or being in want I steal and profane the name of my God.

That being said, what do I think Jesus would say to me?

“If you wish to be perfect Mike, stop with all your impure desires. Stop avoiding the conflicts in your marriage using long hours at work to avoid healing. Think more about your health and eating habits as I need you ready for the journey I want you to follow. Quit with your prideful attitude, doing what you want when I keep asking you to follow my will. Step out of your comfort zone and start living fully for my glory. Quit hiding behind your music at church and your over abundant prayer life and get out and bring Christ to the world.”

Well, I’m not walking away sad but I have some things to think about and do. O merciful Lord, thank you Jesus!

Matthew 19:16-22 “The Rich Young Man”

One Of Those Days!

Happy Sunday! Yes, I have had one of those days. It’s been a day of rest, sleeping in, praying, reading blogs, going to the Chapel before Mass to visit with Jesus, receiving Jesus at Mass, some food and now home reflecting. But today, it seems like everything I read and hear makes sense. The blogs I have read seem to be talking to me right where I am at and the Mass readings today really spoke to me.

Four words from today’s readings. Wisdom, understanding, foolishness and the Eucharist (not the actual word in the readings but “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” describes it). I seek wisdom, understanding and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit everyday in prayer. The wisdom and understanding I received today is how foolish I am playing with sin in my life. I am not saying I am a sinner to appear humble, I am a sinner, playing around with some sinful desires. God knows I am weak and the Eucharist is where I gain strength.

I am also enlightened today that I should want to live and do the best I can. I say it all the time and then I go out and live cautiously in my opinion. I am a lover and by the grace of God, I really do care about all the people in my life. Why don’t I just bring that honestly to the world each day, unafraid and let God do what He wills? Why do I try to figure God out? How foolish is that? God is the greatest lover of all and I am called to be Jesus to the world.

My goal: To quit preaching the commandments to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and to love my neighbor as myself. But, to shut up and live it. Hopefully, my life, my reflections and my love will take on God’s direction and lead me away from selfishness, self pity, self gratification and the sin in my life. May God bless you all!

One Of Those Days!

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


What a great day for all of us “Mama’s Boys” to celebrate. It’s the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Spiritual Mother Mary is assumed to heaven, body and soul, to be with her Son Jesus as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

I do not worship Mary. I love, venerate and honor her. Mary would have died with Jesus on the cross but Jesus gave her to us as He told the apostle John, “behold your mother” and to Mary, “behold your son.” Jesus permitted her to live so that she would strengthen the apostles and all the disciples of Jesus as a mother who knew her Son and the holy will of God.

Today in heaven, through the power of the Holy Spirit, she intercedes for us. Who better to offer our prayers to Jesus than His loving mother. Of course we can pray directly to Jesus and we do but how often do we ask each other to pray for us? When I “pray to Mary”, I am asking her to pray for me just like I would ask you to pray for me.

I love you Mother Mary! I will forever be a “Mama’s Boy” in your loving arms. I hope you are honored greatly today on the Solemnity of your Assumption. Please pray for us! Amen.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Because Of The Hardness Of Your Hearts

Today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 19 talks about marriage. But reading it again after my work day, the line that jumps out at me is “Because of the hardness of your hearts.” I have been thinking about that. My job is based much on customer service. I think life is based on customer service to love our neighbors as ourselves. My prayer everyday is to bring Christ to my world so why would I be concerned with a hardened heart.

I was helping some wonderful people from France today. They were seeking help for an event that they are attending this weekend. We laughed and talked and in my great customer service, I inadvertently gave them the wrong order for their event. Customer service rule: FOCUS ON WHAT YOU ARE DOING! I knew the order did not match his confirmation yet in our conversation, I came to the conclusion it was just a mix up. They walked out happy and I was happy they were happy. It seems like a pretty soft heart to me!

I sat at my desk and this was gnawing at me. I decided to look further into what I did and I found my mistake. Oh Mike, everyone makes mistakes! Yes we do. I should have known better. I made an international call with no success. I emailed with no success. I prayed, not for me but for a solution to the inconvenience I have caused to both my French friends and the person who paid for the order that I gave to them.

So why is the hardness of my heart jumping out at me? It’s my same lifelong problem of not listening to God. I just plow through things doing it my way. Even in the fun and laughter of the moment, the whole time I instinctively knew something was not right but I did it anyway. God was speaking but I was enjoying myself too much to listen. I would like to say a lesson learned but truthfully, I have been here before.

Not much more to say. Of course, I offer it to our merciful God. I managed to fix most of the problem but my foreign friends will most likely face a bit of inconvenience at the event barring a miracle that my email goes through and I can let them know. They will be fine. It’s not life or death and I understand that. I must ask for the grace, in every situation, to allow the promptings of the Holy Spirit to guide me. We all know who knows best. Lord, your will be done. Amen.

Because Of The Hardness Of Your Hearts

Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

My scripture reflection is from Matthew 18:21-19:1 but before I share my thoughts, I wanted to give a few tidbits of information that might help to bring a better understanding to the depth of God’s Mercy in this Scripture passage.

  1. Today’s median annual salary among the nation’s 106.6 million workers is now about $40,560, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  2. According to Lawrence Martone of “The Journey” Daily Meditations website, “ten thousand talents,” the equivalent in terms of daily wages is more than 2,739 years of labor.
  3. Doing the math, $40,560 annual salary x 2,739 years of labor comes to a grand total of $111,093,840.

Keeping those tidbits in mind, today’s passage is the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant. A servant has a great debt and in the original Greek language, the passage says the debt is “ten thousand talents. The master tells him to basically pay up or else and the servant begs for the master to be patient and he will pay it back. We know that the Master represents God. The passage says…

“Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him the loan.”

Using the above information by today’s standards, that would be quite generous and basically a loan that would be impossible to pay off. Jesus loves us so much that by His own blood, He forgives us our debt.

Now the servant who was forgiven goes out to collect a debt from one of his servants who owed him a much smaller debt. He starts choking and demanding that his servant pay off the debt. When he is asked for mercy, the same type of mercy he received…

“he refused. Instead, he had the fellow servant put in prison until he paid back the debt.”

We know God would not be happy with the servant He forgave and Scripture tells us…

“Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt. So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart.”

This is such a beautiful reminder of God’s love, His mercy and forgiveness but it is also a reminder to respond with love, mercy and forgiveness with each other. The consequences of not loving and showing mercy and forgiveness might cause us great pain and suffering in the long run.  Often times, it is easy for me to blow through the Our Father prayer that Jesus taught us. But tonight I remember what I ask the Father for when I say, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Amen.

Parable of the Unforgiving Servant

Don’t Judge Me

Ok, I will not judge you. Easy for me to say. Someone passes by me with a sour expression and I think, “must be having a bad day.”  Oops, did I just judge? I am not sure we all understand what our Lord means when He tells us we are not to judge others. Today in the Gospel reading from Matthew 18:15-20, Jesus tells us this…

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won over your brother.”

So if I know the Lord’s teaching through Holy Scripture and the Church and my brother or sister is committing a sin, I have the responsibility to go to him or her and talk about it. Am I judging? Jesus continues…

“If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.”

Now, a sin could involve the intervention of more people. Again the question, are we judging? Jesus continues…

“If he refuses to listen to them, tell the Church. If he refuses to listen even to the Church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector.”

Oh my, my church is pretty large! I think we get the point that sin separates us from God and we have a responsibility to do what we can, with the grace of God, to help each other bring to light a sin or sins that might cause us to lose our eternal salvation. By the standard of Jesus, we are not judging. The last part of treating them like a Gentile or a tax collector might just mean that we have to let it go and give it all to God. That would be sad.

So let me start by saying I’m the worst. I usually want peace at all cost so most often I keep my mouth shut. I often take the do not judge to the extreme because I used to make my point known forcefully and it caused a lot of friction in my life. When I read this passage, I am uncomfortable. I have been studying Scripture and the teachings of the church and with the gift of the Holy Spirit, I have a pretty good idea of right and wrong. Unfortunately for me, I have a lot of logs to take out of my eyes before I try to remove the splinter from anyone else.

I really though am not afraid to point out sin, mine or yours. The important point for me is that whatever I try to do, it must bring me and others closer to Jesus. I do not want to push people away from our most merciful God. Truth is important. Sharing the truth in love is a necessity. Sin offends our Lord greatly. I am a great sinner. My past is filled with horrific sin. I have hurt people I love deeply. I may have caused pain in the lives of others and am not aware. I have repented and still pick up my cross daily to follow Jesus. I still sin today and beg the Lord for mercy. Life is difficult and through this scripture passage, I think we owe it to ourselves and to God to do our best to get each other on the straight and narrow path to eternal life. Please, don’t judge me, just help me. God bless you all.

Don’t Judge Me

What is your opinion?

Here is the question that Jesus asks us our opinion in today’s Gospel from Matthew 18.

If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?

I think to answer this question properly, it takes understanding. I need to know the person asking the question, why is it being asked and being a disciple of Jesus, I would want to follow what He would do. Fortunately, they are one and the same. If I want to understand God, I need to have a deep relationship with Him. I know that I have answered this question many times with a resounding yes and also, sheepishly (pun intended) with a no.

Jesus wants to leave no one behind. Me, I am still working on it. In my opinion, I know many people who I think have gone so far astray that there is no hope. With Jesus, there is always hope. Our world is a mess. We are so divided. Good is bad and bad is good. Relativity seems to be the norm. If you think it’s true then it’s true. But real truth, and there is only one truth, has a name and it is Jesus Christ. Knowing Jesus, I continue to bring my doubts of humanity to Him in prayer and believe that all things are possible for God.

So my opinion today is yes, it is worth doing everything I can to go after the stray. By the grace of God, I must remain open to His call. It is truly never about me and it is all about loving God and my neighbor.

What is your opinion?

God Loves A Cheerful Giver

In today’s first reading, St. Paul in his 2nd letter to the Corinthians says…

“Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

This is one of those days each year that I try to bring the scripture reading to light for a special occasion. Today is my brother Bob’s birthday. He went to his eternal rest almost 10 years ago. My brother was a hard working and dedicated man who was in the business of serving others. And yes, he was a cheerful giver.

He was a very special man and left us with his beautiful family of which I believe he is extremely proud of. Randy, Robin, Donna, Tim and Kristine now carry on Bob’s nature of a cheerful giver. I love you Bob. Please pray for us!


God Loves A Cheerful Giver

My Flesh for the Life of the World

As my weekend comes to a close, I thank God for this beautiful Sunday. It was a very relaxing day centered around the Eucharist I received today at Mass. Today’s readings from 1 Kings 19:4-8 and the Gospel of John 6:41-51 have much in common.

Elijah is praying to die but an Angel of the Lord comes and orders him two times to eat so he will have strength for the journey as he would walk forty days and nights to the mountain of God. In the Gospel, Jesus tells us the He is the bread of life, the living bread that came down from heaven and whoever eats this bread will live forever. Then Jesus finishes by saying…

“and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

and we as Catholics believe that the Eucharist is His flesh. And like Elijah, when we eat this bread, we gain strength for our journey to God which is eternal life.

I hope everyone had a great weekend and ready for a new week to bring Christ to wherever we go. Praise and Glory to God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen!

My Flesh for the Life of the World

Perseverance & Faith

Today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 17:14-20 tells us that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed that nothing will be impossible for us. When I think about that, it is pretty hard for me to believe. And then when I think about that, it tells me that I do not even have faith the size of a tiny mustard seed.

Faith for me is a process. It is perseverance in daily prayer with Jesus. It is growing each day to know Jesus more deeply. I need to get old obstacles out of my mind that try to block my view of Jesus,  who is my Lord and Savior that loves me more than I am capable of understanding. Why Jesus would ever want a relationship with a sinful man like me I cannot fully understand but I know He does by faith!

I spent a day with my family celebrating my nephew’s graduation from College. He is a great example of perseverance. He has spent 15 years in college to earn his business degree. I am very proud of his perseverance. Today, I celebrated that perseverance and believe it or not, his reward is becoming the CEO of a very successful company he has been working for while pursuing his degree. It is not often that one gets an opportunity like that but he has paid his dues, especially the demands of his family who own the company.

Our God is good! I will continue to persevere in prayer and pray for an increase of faith daily. By the grace of God, when I face my Lord at my particular judgment, I hope I will not hear “Oh ye of little faith” but instead, “well done my good and faithful servant.”

Have a blessed evening and a beautiful Day of the Lord tomorrow!

Perseverance & Faith