St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, ARCHANGELS

St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in the battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits that wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

It’s the feast day of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael the Archangels. I think I have a great relationship, love and respect for all of God’s Angels. I am sure I have been protected more times than I am aware of. Angels, pure Spirit with a great intelligence and a desire to only serve and worship God. I have my own Guardian Angel.

That being said, I also have free will that God will not take from me. I want Him to because I often use it to offend Him, Mother Mary, all the Saints and all the glorious Angels. With my sinfulness, I offend all of Heaven. Recently, I have been bothered by my lack of discipline, my lack of self-control and frankly my sins. I cannot be perfect “as my Heavenly Father is perfect” and when I am not, it ticks me off.

I write this because I can’t talk about it with anyone. No, I take it back, I can talk with others but here is the standard answer of truth I am given by them, “you are human and you are going to make mistakes.” OK, wow, I can let myself off the hook! Truth is, Jesus took the nails so that I can live. To be me with all my flaws is very freeing to me. It’s a simple concept that I need to take to heart. I dwell a lot on my imperfections and that is a big mistake I make trying to be someone I cannot be. I am loved as I am and by grace, I must trust that God knows my heart and desires to follow Him, even with my glaring imperfections.

I was inspired tonight by Melissa’s blog “Work For The Cause Not The Applause – A Jewish Girl’s Journey With Jesus.” Her writing is so deep, honest and vulnerable. Tonight though, the message of Jesus through her gives me a greater hope and desire to be myself with all my flaws, still allowing God to use me for His glory. As I usually say to many, “it is what it is” and Jesus knows “what it is” better than me. I hope you enjoy her post tonight “Come Let Me In”.

God bless you my friends and I hope you will thank God tonight for your Guardian Angel, all Angels and especially St. Michael, St. Gabriel and St. Raphael the Archangels! Amen.

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St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, ARCHANGELS

Who Is The Greatest?

Scripture again today brings up the issue of who’s the greatest.

Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.”

I sure do not feel like the greatest and I know I am far from it. I think that is another reason why I really like Pope Francis. He takes the title, servant of the servants of Christ to heart. I heard he was invited to a dinner with many of our great leaders. He humbly declined and went and met with prisoners.

It’s hard for me to write tonight. I have grasped for peace today. I think I am faking it more than actually living with it. I am still at work, a little downtrodden, some problems at home and annoyed at work. Thanks be to God for the grace to accept whatever God permits to happen to me and especially for the grace to not take my feelings out in actions on anyone else. Lord, I am very thankful.

I guess in a way I was of service today in not taking away the joy of others while in my own mood of funkiness. Just thinking about it makes me feel pretty good! I have come a long way and I must share my gratitude for all the blessings in my life. Who is the greatest? You are Lord. You gave everything out of love for Your children. Alleluia!

Who Is The Greatest?

Inclusive Or Exclusive?

I just finished a 2 hour performance of praise music with my group SIGN, Singing In God’s Name, to close out the weekend entertainment at our Harvest Festival. I did not feel well today but as entertainers do, the show must go on. It’s now over and I am so energized. Glory and praise to our God.

The Mass readings today seem to point out that even though others may not be a part of the “group”, they still have a right to Jesus. I love my Catholic faith and I wish everyone was a member of the church and believed all that the church teaches. Wishful thinking because I personally know more non-Catholics than I do Catholics.

I remember as a young boy, when someone said they were Catholic, I wanted to run. I don’t know why but I wanted nothing to do with them. Now that I am on the other side, I am more understanding when people bash the church, the Pope, our beliefs or even me. Some of it I think is a lack of understanding of what the church actually teaches and why, mostly from uninformed sources.

But I also think that it is easy to appear exclusive rather than inclusive. I am guilty of using “exclusive Catholic language”, trying to be a teacher and apologist, which can really turn people off. I think Jesus was reminding me to live my faith by loving everyone as He does, Catholic or not, and not having to bring teaching into each conversation.

I think our music today was very inclusive and the large crowd gathered together, of all faiths, enjoyed the day putting aside any exclusivity. Music was the grace today for me to live the Gospel for the glory of Jesus.

And I feel great! Thank you Jesus!

Inclusive Or Exclusive?

Hidden Meanings

In reading the Gospel tonight, Jesus hid the meaning from His disciples when He said “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” We have the blessings of over 2000 years, the Bible, the teachings of the church and the writings of many like the church fathers who have helped to deepen our meaning of the passion of Jesus.

Tonight I wonder how much God has to hide from me? If I truly understood completely, maybe it would lead me into areas I should not be going. With my Christian maturity level, I wonder how I would respond if Jesus revealed to me something like you are going to lose a family member to an accident. Would I say, praise to You Lord, your will be done? Would I beg to know who? What would I do if I knew who? I have no idea where I am going with this. I am writing as I am thinking and I am pretty content not to know what I should not know and trust in God.

My wife and I went looking at houses in an area we like just to see. She found something she really likes and is very intent on getting all the necessary information we need as to if this is something we can actually do and prepare to sell our home. Just the reality of this is a little frightening to me. So many questions going through my head. That peace that I have been sharing is being threatened today.

I went to confession today. It was different. Not sure why. I believe in the grace I receive and the words of absolution usually bring great joy to me. Tonight, its hard to explain, but it was different. My group played music at mass and that was awesome also, but it was different. I had many people make an effort to let me know their appreciation for our music. Is God trying to tell me something? Am I just not listening?

This is probably one of the strangest posts I have ever written. I can’t figure it out. I’m not even sure why I am going to post it other than for keeping a daily journal of scripture reflections. Thanks for bearing with me tonight. May God richly bless you!

Maybe the prayer of blessing is the reason? Amen.

Hidden Meanings

Who Do I Say That I Am?

The Gospel today from Luke is one we hear a lot. Jesus asks His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter ends up with the correct answer, “The Christ Of God”.

In my upbringing, especially from my mom but from others also, I was asked way too many times, “Who do you think you are?” I don’t think the one asking the question is looking for a profound answer but rather has the desire to stop a certain behavior of my pride that is upsetting the questioner.

So tonight I wish to answer the question simply and profoundly. I say that I am a sinner. No explanation needed. In the Gospel, when Peter gives His insightful answer through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus tells His disciples, “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised.”

I have many Facebook friends along with family and friends that I know more intimately that uplift me often. I am getting better at offering up to God all the compliments for His glory as you and I all know that we are nothing without God. I was thinking that I am more like Jesus than I am aware of. I am suffering greatly. My marriage is broken and I deserve to be rejected by my wife, redemptive suffering. I am rejected in the workplace with my ideas at times. I’m rejected in my Christian writing. I am rejected in many ways that just come with the territory of following the teaching of the Catholic Church. I do not know if I will be killed but I will die and with my hope in Christ and through His love and mercy, I will be raised.

And yes, I am still a nobody to the world, a sinner. And I am at peace. Thanks be to God.

Who Do I Say That I Am?

The Lord Takes Delight In His People

I had the blessing this morning on my drive into work to hear Pope Francis address the United States Congress. It was very interesting to me based on my perception of politicians and my perception of the Pope. I am very biased. I love my Catholic faith. I pray for the pope daily. To me he is the person chosen by God to protect the deposit of faith revealed through the church by Jesus. He leads, I do my best to follow in obedience.

Now I have shared before my bias of politicians. I do not think that they, in general, seek the common good of people but get caught up in the “what’s in it for me” type of leadership. It was a little tense for me to listen. There was applause with his messages but I can’t help thinking, through my own human nature of sinning, that many applaud out of kindness or respect yet think this old man is out of touch with the world.

I smile because THE POPE IS CATHOLIC! I am catholic and I get what he is sharing. It makes sense to me that he is speaking for the common good of all, especially children, families and the poor. I heard today that about 20-25% of the Congress is catholic. Yet, in my humble opinion, many of those catholics, parading around with him, do not share in the teachings of the church and the mission our pope is leading and that is very sad.

Today’s Gospel from Luke 9 has Herod trying to figure out Jesus. He has heard about the miracles and all that Jesus is doing. The people are telling him that John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, Elijah has appeared and one of the ancient prophets has arisen. Herod answers them “John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” And he really wanted to see Jesus.

I wonder how many Herods in Congress got their opportunity today to see Jesus through Pope Francis? I can only hope and pray for a better outcome. And yes it is true in today’s Responsorial Psalm 149: “THE LORD TAKES DELIGHT IN HIS PEOPLE!” Thanks be to God that we have a merciful and loving God as it is a struggle for me to take delight in my brothers and sisters leading this country down a very dangerous path. But our Lord loves us all. We are blessed!

The Lord Takes Delight In His People

Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement

One of my friends/coworker is Jewish. He is a really good man and I appreciate his company, his work ethic and the importance of his Jewish faith. He left work early yesterday and is off today because of Yom Kippur. We both used to work for the Dodgers so we have fun with Dodger trivia each day. The trivia question yesterday for September 22 was…

Why did Sandy Koufax not start Game 1 of the 1965 World Series?

THE ANSWER…

Because it fell on Yom Kippur.

In reading today’s first reading from Ezra 9, it is a prayer of shame and desire for mercy. It was a reminder for me that God’s mercy is abundant, especially when we repent of our sinfulness. Being that it is the Day of Atonement for the Jews, I wanted to know a little more about it. I read a piece by Michael Kaplan in the International Business Times entitled, “What Is Yom Kippur? 11 Quick Facts You Should Know About The 2015 Jewish Day Of Atonement.” Here they are.

1. Many believe one’s actions from the past year are sealed after Yom Kippur. The day is a time for repentance.

2. The 10 days that precede Yom Kippur are called the Days of Repentance. It’s a period of time meant for introspection.

3. Many Jews choose to follow a tradition of wearing white clothing on Yom Kippur, symbolizing purity and a Biblical promise that sins that are repented shall be made white as snow.

4. Many Jews fast a full 26 hours for Yom Kippur. Anyone who cannot safely fast — including pregnant women and children — are exempt.

5. Work is considered forbidden during Yom Kippur.

6. Many Jews refrain from washing or bathing, using cosmetics or deodorant, or wearing leather shoes. Sexual relations during Yom Kippur are not permitted, either.

7. Many observant Jews spend much of the holiday at the synagogue. Services include readings from the Torah.

8. Services close with the blowing of the shofar, a ritual musical instrument made of a ram’s horn.

9. Disobedience toward God requires repentance; atonement for one’s wrongdoing toward other human beings often requires apologies.

10. Some religious Jews wave a chicken over their head three times while reciting prayers, and then slaughter the chicken, donating the meat or its monetary worth to the poor.

11. Many families hold a festive meal with relatives and friends to break the fast.

I continue to hope that all my Jewish brothers and sisters will come to know Jesus Christ and His love, mercy and forgiveness for all the children of God. One day, we will all know the truth. Our Lord knows each of us better than we know ourselves and my hope is in Him. I love my Jewish brothers and sisters. May God have mercy on us all. Amen.

Yom Kippur – Day of Atonement