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.

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

Support Of Leadership?

I used to be one that would say “I won’t talk about politics or religion.” I now think how immature that is. I think people say that because they know little about either. I do not know much about politics as I have ingrained in my thought process a generalization that “all” politicians are greedy, liars and selfish men and women who think only about what they will get if they have to sell their vote. With religion, I would really like to strike up conversations about my Catholic faith and the love I have for God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Maybe that’s the blessing for spending time with Jesus and getting to know our awesome God!

So today in the Book of Ezra, we have an early day politician, King Darius. He has power to rule. In the case of religion and the Jewish leaders, this is an order that he issued…

“Let the governor and the elders of the Jews continue the work on that house of God; they are to rebuild it on its former site. I also issue this decree concerning your dealing with these elders of the Jews in the rebuilding of that house of God: From the royal revenue, the taxes of West-of-Euphrates, let these men be repaid for their expenses, in full and without delay. I, Darius, have issued this decree; let it be carefully executed.”

Wow! Some support for religion. How refreshing and even the willingness to repay the elders of the Jews for their expenses in building the house of God. Today, we are experiencing a great attack on our religious liberty and freedom from our leaders. It seems to be okay to go to church, pray at church, worship at church and enjoy all that the church has to offer. But once I leave that house of God, I am supposed to leave my God at the church and not bring Him into the public square with me.

That sounds pretty foolish to me but it is quickly becoming more of a reality. The murdering of children in abortion is also pretty foolish and a grave sin, but it is legal. God created man and a woman, suitable partners, to multiply. He gave us the Sacrament of Marriage. It is also pretty foolish to think that two men or two women can now be married, but it is legal. If a person is getting old and suffering, it is legal in some places and becoming legal in others to terminate them under the beautiful title of “assisted suicide!” How foolish is that? Who is really suffering, the patient or those who do not want to pay or have the burden of taking care of the suffering and dying. Comments like “it’s hard to watch one suffer” is used so often. So, now it becomes a selfish reason to not want to take care of the suffering because it is selfishly difficult. Look at the cross! Are we immune to the suffering of Jesus? Do we realize that He suffered for us so that we can live?

Sorry for the rant. It just came out. I thank God for King Darius that in this case, he was of great support in his leadership. Our leadership today, our dysfunctional, disagreeing, selfish and greedy society that I am a part of today, SUCKS! Lord, save us from the lies, the greed, the murder and all the intrinsic evil that we, our society believe is good. You let your people learn from their disobedience by enslavement to the Egyptians and Pharaoh. Lord, I am fearful that in our disobedience, there will be more enslavement to sin. Maybe this is our punishment to enjoy our sin and it’s consequences.

Lord Jesus, please save us. Amen.

Support Of Leadership?

Mature Manhood

Heard a prayer today to the Holy Spirit the Fr. Larry Richards says will change your life if you pray it everyday and read the Bible. So tonight, I prayed this before reading scripture and writing my reflection…

Oh Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. Tell me what I should do. Give me Your orders. I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. Let me only do your will

So today on the Feast of St. Matthew, the lower than scum tax collector, the sinner that Jesus dined with, the one who immediately said yes to Jesus when asked to follow Him and the one who became one of the Apostles of Jesus, I love and honor you and give thanks to God for all the glory He has given you, please pray for us now and at the hour of our death, Amen.

My theme is mature manhood and by the grace of God, I am beginning to understand. As much as I say I am an open book, most do not know me. Scripture inspires me to share myself more openly when I write, but in face to face communication, I rarely have opportunities to sit with people and share each other’s lives. Most of it is my own fault. I like being alone with God. I do not reach out much for relationships. As I have shared before, I screwed up the greatest relationship one could have with my wife due to my infidelity years ago. As a couple, we just can’t seem to get past it so I accept the cross I have been given.

From as early as I can remember, I wanted to be great! I was a great athlete at every level I progressed at. I was a talented musician and in my pride, thought that I was as good as anyone in my heyday. No matter what, my competitive nature kept me fighting to be the best. The way of the world has always told us that this is good. Strive to be the best and since I did not make it to the top, I’m a failure. I have lived with this type of immaturity for almost all of my life.

But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ.

So I lived my life wanting your grace, his grace, her grace, their grace and as much of others grace that I could get so that I could be great or even greater than the person the grace was given to. I have lived swimming upstream. The grace I have been given has not seemed to be enough for me as it has not gotten me to the top of the world, famous, known throughout the world for my greatness!

St. Paul continues saying in today’s first reading from Ephesians 4…

I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace

I really think I understand. Being great in the eyes of God begins with great humility and gentleness. St. Matthew possessed that and God has blessed me with this grace. I have become so much more patient and I am continuing to bear wrongs with great patience and trust in the Lord which brings me more peace than I deserve. I say that because I am at peace but I often see the one I have hurt deeply and love so much, not able to find peace in forgiveness. I am helpless because my words or desires to reach out are not received well.

So I will not be on par with The Beatles, Stones or Justin Bieber but I get to glorify God with the grace of music He has given me at Mass. I will not be in the Baseball Hall of Fame but for many years I was given the opportunity to coach others to help them reach their dreams. And tonight, in the power of the Holy Spirit, I thank God for this enlightenment. I am who I am and that is pleasing to God with the exception that He loves me too much to let me stay in this place. Lord, your will be done!

Mature Manhood

“Just” Life

There is no one more just than Jesus. He’s God. He knows all

Reading today’s first reading from Wisdom 2 which was written about 50 years before the coming of Jesus yet it completely talks about a just man and those who would persecute Him. When I think about Jesus, the words of Wisdom make sense.

“Let us beset the just one, because he is obnoxious to us; he sets himself against our doings,
reproaches us for transgressions of the law and charges us with violations of our training.” – Oh my, Jesus did just that. The scribes and Pharisees were always trying to trap Him in blasphemy because He would not go along with the 600 plus Jewish laws that bound the children of God rather than free them.

“Let us see whether his words be true; let us find out what will happen to him. For if the just one be the son of God, God will defend him and deliver him from the hand of his foes.” – Oh my, and we live in His glory today because of how He was delivered. Thank you Father!

“With revilement and torture let us put the just one to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a shameful death; for according to his own words, God will take care of him.” – Oh my, I am still mindful that this was written about 50 years before Jesus. Words of prophecy, words of truth.

I have been really struggling with temptation to sin and I have been giving in to the temptation. I am amazed at myself that I talk to God while I am sinning asking for His mercy and how sorry I am that I am so weak. I have been so busy with work the last three weeks, extremely early and late hours and frankly tired and just wanting to do what I want to do, not necessarily what is right. I have been wrestling with God, trying to figure out if He is mad at me, forgiving me, going to punish me, letting me walk deeper into darkness where there is no way out except through Him or is He loving me and speaking to me but I cannot listen because right now, it is all about me?

This morning I awoke early to pray and to go to early morning Mass. There was mercy and love in the air. I was different. There was a grace of strength in me to humbly come before my Savior and ask for His help and mercy. I knelled and prayed before the Blessed Sacrament. I received Jesus in the Eucharist at Mass. I went back to the Chapel and prayed a while longer with and in the Presence of Jesus. My life is so simple when I do not lose sight of God and His love for me. I had an awesome day and I am more aware that staying close to Jesus is “just” life, my life.

“Just” Life