A story of mercy unfolds today in the Book of 1 Samuel 24. King Saul, jealous King Saul, is trying to track down David to kill him. David and his men are hiding in a cave and King Saul steps in to relieve himself. David’s men remind David that the Lord has delivered King Saul into his hands and now is the time to kill him.
The mercy of David though is a great example for me. David explains to King Saul that he can easily kill him but that he will not do it which makes him the better person. King Saul agrees and tells David that one day he will surely be King. I have not had to flee from someone trying to kill me. I do know someone though that I have hurt deeply in the past that does not like me very much and periodically lashes out to let me know it.
I have apologized and asked for forgiveness but it’s just something that this person cannot let go. It reminds me how important my choices are and how they can affect others, even possibly for a lifetime. Like David, I can show mercy by accepting the painful words that are inflicted on me and unite them to the cross of Jesus in the hope of his grace of healing in this relationship.
Jesus is a God of mercy. He offers it to everyone just for the asking. I must do the same daily in my life. Like David, I really want to be the better person for God’s glory, not mine.
Mike Burke, Friday, January 22, 2016
“YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD.” In today’s Gospel from Mark 3, this is what the unclean spirits shouted when they saw Jesus as they would fall down. My thoughts are that if I want to be made clean and live a holy life, free of demons and evil spirits, I should best make room for Jesus to live fully in me.
The Gospel says that everyone was pressing in on Jesus because they heard about what he was doing. He was teaching the truth, healing and giving all an opportunity for a new life in Christ. People were excited. They believed he could heal. They saw the miracles and were in awe of God!
Oh me of little faith. I spend a good amount of time with Jesus each day. Our relationship is growing. I am blessed. But this passage has me pondering, do I really believe that my good friend Jesus, my Lord and Savior and my God will really do what I ask of him?
I was sitting in the Chapel today with Jesus and scrolling through Facebook and when someone asked for prayers, here I am, right in the presence of Jesus offering it to him. It made me feel great with the hope of healing or desires answered for the people asking for prayer. I read a great blog recently about hope. Hope in Christ is with certainty. Do I really have that faith?
Lord, your will be done. May I completely trust in you. Amen.
Mike Burke, Thursday, January 21, 2016
Jesus asked the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?”
Let’s say, I am with my friend who has cancer and been in pain for many years. It’s Sunday, a day of rest, no unnecessary work to be done and here is Jesus in our midst and he calls out to my suffering friend. And he asks me the question, “Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” I scream yes! Thank you Jesus!
There is a man with a withered hand before Jesus. How do the Pharisees respond to Jesus? The scriptures say “but they remained silent.” This passage did get me to ponder how often I am silent when I should speak and how often I speak when I should be silent. So before I bring my frustration down on the Pharisees, I do have to check myself also.
As a man living now near the end of life, I have become more aware of my desire to not offend God. Today’s Gospel says that Jesus was angry and grieved at their hardness of heart. He then healed the man. And the Pharisees were silent no more as they took counsel with the Herodians to put Jesus to death.
Lord I can only hope that you will melt away any hardness in my heart that would keep me from being pleasing to you. Amen.
Mike Burke, Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Today’s reading from Samuel 16 tells about Samuel being sent to choose a king from Jesse’s sons. None of the 7 sons presented were selected until Samuel asked if there were any more sons. Of course there was one more, he was out tending the sheep. The one no one expected to be chosen was the one the Lord wanted. That was King David.
We are not supposed to judge anyone especially by appearance. Only God knows the heart and we do not. But don’t we do it anyway? I can have some pretty strong opinions about others and make the mistake of judging their capabilities or lack thereof. How often am I wrong? Very often to be truthful.
God calls me to love and not to judge. Again, I cannot judge a book from its cover! God chose King David to lead his people. You know David, he slew Goliath and conquered the feared Philistines. He also was an adulterer and a murderer. He also disobeyed God. Why would God choose him? I think for the same reason he chooses sinful people like you and me to accomplish his will in our lives. Through David, God’s will was accomplished
Lord, you know me better than I know myself. My hope is in you. I pray for conversion, transformation and surrender to whatever you desire of me. Let me only know your will. Amen.
Mike Burke, Tuesday, January 19, 2016
The scripture passages today remind me that my Lord deserves all praise and glory and that’s what he desires from me. I can praise him in my words and in my deeds, especially my desire to do his will and not my will.
The Gospel talks about fasting. When I think of fasting, food always comes to mind. I must admit, I struggle with the thought of fasting because I like to eat. But fasting is much more than just eating and there are many ways of sacrifice and mortifications that are pleasing to God. But I do think the Lord puts fasting from food on my heart because of my attachment to it.
When I am attached to anything, I will desire it more and replace God in my life with it. Food can be an attachment for me. When I am stressed, I eat. When I celebrate I eat. I can always seem to find some reason to eat and giving up food can be a challenge for me. To fast would help me to bring my focus on the Praise and Glory of God rather than myself.
Today I have the day off in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Here is a man that praised God and stood up for God’s truth. He loved Jesus and was willing to die like Jesus so that others might have the freedom of life that I was given. I know I will not understand the magnitude of his suffering but he and all who profess Jesus are my brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen.
Mike Burke, Monday, January 18, 2016
Today’s readings are packed with messages. In the Gospel from John 2, Jesus does his first public miracle at a wedding at Cana. There was a problem, there would be embarrassment and help was needed so his mother asked him to solve the problem. He changed water into wine, the best wine.
What that says to me is (1) Jesus listens to his mother; (2) on the cross, he gave his mother to me as my spiritual mother; and (3) my spiritual mother also listens to me and will ask Jesus to help me. To me it’s that simple. I love you Mother Mary!
The second reading from 1st Corinthians 12 says that “there are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit.” St. Paul lists many of the gifts that the Spirit gives but the point it makes to me is that we are all graced with different gifts and we need each other.
In my life, there have been many times that I have felt worthless. If someone needs help with plumbing, not me. If someone needs a mechanic, not me. If someone needs repair work at home, not me. You get the point. Instead of feeling worthless, I might know someone who can help. I might give encouragement. I might pray. I might console. I have been given many gifts that God wants me to use to love my neighbors and all the people in my life. I need you and you need me. Thanks be to God! Have a beautiful Sunday praising the Lord! Amen.
Mike Burke; Sunday, January 17, 2016
Jesus calls me again today and every day. The last line of today’s Gospel is his daily call to me, “I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” He prefaced it by saying, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.”
I am a sinner and truly a sick man. Because of sin, I am capable of doing anything unimaginable. That is a very scary thought for me. I am so dependent on the Grace of God that without it, the sickness and sin in me would dwell in darkness. There would be no peace in my life and no light.
Powerball has been the big news in my city. We have a winner here. I have had people ask me if it was me who won. You might have heard the saying, “you can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket.” I believe the truth for me is, “I did win because I didn’t buy a ticket”
I have heard many say, if I win, I will do this, or that, and this and that. I would suggest that if I won, no matter what good intentions I had or what I said I would do, I most assuredly would not. Would that money bring me closer to God or separate me from him? I am a very weak man, sin has beaten me down. I do not want the temptation to walk a path that God is not choosing for me. Jesus, the physician who specializes in sin replacement with virtue, is working on me. I have daily appointments with him to get well. Thanks be to God! Amen.
Mike Burke, Saturday, January 16, 2016