All You Need Is “Love Your Enemies”


“But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44-45)

I really enjoy reading each day the many bloggers I subscribe to. There are so many of us who really love the Lord and want to share it. We are all very different, all made in the image and likeness of God but each unique in God’s own way. Too often, I want to write and share God’s wisdom with you in profound ways because so many of you have shared much that helps me to grow as a Christian. But the truth is, I have become a very simple, sinful man who trusts in the Lord. I pray, I surrender to him and I am who I am.

I had a brief chat at dinner with my daughter. She had mentioned that there were certain groups that she is involved with that are asking their members to boycott certain companies because they are against things like abortion and Planned Parenthood. She mentioned that the groups are “liberal” in their thinking and believe what they are doing is right. We had no argument and there was not much discussion. My daughter knows where I stand. As today’s Gospel tells me, I pray each day for an end to abortion and the conversion of Planned Parenthood. Sin is my enemy so I will pray for all of my enemies in love and out of my love and obedience to God.

Am I a conservative or a liberal? No, I am a Catholic and believe in the teaching of the Catholic Church. Many of the bloggers I read are not Catholic and their wisdom and understanding of scripture is very helpful to me. I can tell you, in my opinion that the teachings of the Catholic Church are very misunderstood and if one were to study the “whys” of the teachings, one would come to a better understanding. I believe that we are all one body in Christ, we are all the bad, the good, the just and the unjust and by the grace of God, we still enjoy the sun and the rain. God bless you all.

Mike Burke; Saturday, February 20, 2016
All You Need Is “Love Your Enemies”

Anger & Judgment


“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment” (Matthew 5:21-22)

When I read scripture, it often points right at me but then there are times that others come to mind. I remember too well the passage that tells me to pull the plank out of my eye before I can remove the splinter from my brother’s eye. I do not look at scripture as Jesus threatening me or you to do it his way or we are going to Hell. The merciful and loving God that I love with all my heart, soul, mind and strength wants only what is best for me. So when I read a passage like the Gospel of Matthew today, I hear a merciful God calling me by name to remind me that I am made in his image and likeness.

To reflect more deeply on this, accepting that I am a sinner that screws up too often, my Lord is never angry with me. He calls me to repentance and allows me to receive His mercy. And for me to read every passage of scripture in this manner brings to me great peace of mind. Our God is an awesome God and I have no desire to ever offend him again by being angry with you or anyone in my life.

We may disagree on many things that we are passionate about. There is only one truth and that truth is Jesus Christ. I believe we are all in search of truth. There is no time for anger in our lives and Satan is doing his best to confuse us. The more time we spend with our Lord, the better understanding of truth, by his gift of grace, we will receive. Coming from me, a man who has been angry too often in his life, living each day in the love and peace of Christ is the only way to go, a little heaven on earth.

Mike Burke, Friday, February 19, 2016
Anger & Judgment

Ask, Seek & Knock


Jesus said to his disciples:Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him. “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:7-12)

I do not necessarily need to share a reflection on today’s Gospel from Matthew 7:7-12. Rather, I need to believe it! As a dad, I remember my children asking for all kinds of things and I remember often saying no, no, no, no, no, ok. I love my daughters and I want them to be happy. When I can do things good for them, fun for them or helpful for them, I want to do it. Kids keep on keeping on. I think as children of God, we should keep on asking, seeking and knocking. God will definitely outdo our love infinitely.

Mike Burke; Thursday, February 18, 2016
Ask, Seek & Knock

“This Generation Is An Evil Generation”


“This Generation Is An Evil Generation” says our Lord Jesus in today’s Gospel from Luke 11. This quote came over 2000 years ago and I have no doubt that he is speaking to our generation today. Jesus talks about Jonah and the Ninevites who repented from their evil ways and won the mercy and favor of God which was the first reading today from Jonah 3. The Ninevites listened to Jonah and repented and Jesus tells us that there is “something greater than Jonah here.” One might think that with all the written scripture and oral tradition passed down to us from generation to generation that “those who have ears ought to hear!”

I am getting older and I know I am very close to death. I may have 10, 20 or 30 more years at the most. I may only have a few minutes. There is no way to know. What I do know is that I choose to follow Jesus for as long as he permits me to live and when he calls, at my judgment, I pray I am ready, because of his love, mercy and grace, to enter eternal life with him forever in heaven. Jesus mentions the final judgment in today’s Gospel telling us that the “men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it.” Our generation is doomed without repentance.

Doom and gloom is not the message I hear. What I hear is a loving and merciful God, calling each one of us to accept his mercy and repent from the evils of our generation. It does not take much to look at the world today and discover what is evil. For me, it does not take much to look in the mirror and know the evils of the person staring back at me. I sincerely want to surrender my will to the Lord. My will does not work and my Lord’s will does.

I could list many things that offend God that bring great debate throughout the world. What God tells us is right and just, the world says no and finds ways to justify the sin. When God says no, the world says it’s ok because God understands. Satan is pretty smart to get a generation like ours to buy into so much evil today. I suggest that we do our best as individuals and together, as did the generation of Ninevites, to put on the sackcloth of repentance that is pleasing to God. Truly, our only hope is in the Lord. Lord have mercy.

Mike Burke; Wednesday, February 17, 2016
“This Generation Is An Evil Generation”

Grammy’s For The Poor



I was home today, having a Presidential holiday, and I celebrated by doing laundry, eating and then settling in for whatever sports I could find on TV. Some women’s basketball, some men’s basketball and then I saw on the channel guide that the Grammy’s were on. I am a musician but did not feel like watching people celebrating their God-given talents with self-proclaimed awards. It kind of sounds like I have some envy!

Truthfully, I do not. I just do not follow music very closely anymore and today’s artists are unfamiliar to me. I have heard some of their names but really do not know much about them. I turned on the show and I was captivated by what I saw. I talked with God often during the show especially thanking him for the amazing talent he has given these artists. I thought the show was spectacular and so well done. It was a gigantic WOW for me!

As I reflected on Tuesday’s scripture readings, I was still thinking about all the talent I just witnessed. Then, I daydreamed what it must be like to have all that fame, money, parties and the likes. It’s what I wanted growing up. I tried. I had some moments in my career and when I start to think about it, it always brings me back to sinful moments of my past and how they have so negatively affected my life.

So I come across today’s Responsorial Psalm 34 which is, “From all their distress God rescues the just.” Letting that sink in, I think that could really apply to where I am at today. I will not go as far as to say that I am just but I am really trying by the Grace of God so I will have to leave that up to the judgment of my Lord. Then, this verse from the Psalm popped out,When the poor one called out, the LORD heard, and from all his distress he saved him. From all their distress God rescues the just.”  

My thought, who are the poor? I know that people without God’s basic necessities would be considered poor. But I am going to suggest possibly another type of poor. How about the rich like our Grammy artists, professional athletes, actors, politicians and many in the public spotlight? I cannot even imagine the temptations of sin that they must face every day. And to think, that’s what I wanted for all of my childhood and most of my adult life. By the world’s standards, I am pretty much a failure. I couldn’t make it, I didn’t make it. But as I strive to live my life daily for the glory of God, maybe I am one of those poor who has been rescued from all my distress.

My prayer to God of thanksgiving for all of the great talent he has given these artists is not finished as I also ask him to protect them from all the evils of this world as Jesus himself tells us that it is very hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It seems it just might be better to be poor which I really believe to mean depending completely on God and not on ourselves.

Mike Burke; Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Grammy’s For The Poor



Today is President’s Day. Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and on Saturday was World Marriage Day. There is a lot for us to celebrate. To me, all of them bring to mind the need for our Lord. All of our world leaders need the guidance of the Holy Spirit whether they believe it or not. And, all of our relationships need Christ as the center.

In today’s first reading from Leviticus 19, God, speaking through Moses says 4 times, “I Am The LORD.” Moses tells God’s people what the Lord expects of them. All that he tells them are the same commands we should be following today. I think many people today want to discard the Old Testament and the law because Jesus came in fulfillment of the law.

Moving then to the New Testament reading today, Matthew 25 lays it out for us with how God is pleased when we follow him and what happens to us if we do not. I have read this passage many times and usually feel a little guilty as to what I really do in loving God and my neighbor. Jesus tells us: Give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the ill and visit the prisoners.

I have to do my part but I need you also and that’s why we are the church. We are given gifts to use and our Lord calls us to use them for those in need to glorify God. The Lord says when we do these acts of charity, we are righteous and receive eternal life and if we do not, eternal punishment. We know we cannot earn our salvation as that is a free gift from God through Jesus. He suffered so much out of love for us that it would seem like we should really want to get to know and love our Savior.

How do we get to know the people we love? The simple answer is that we spend time with them. We have to do the same with God to know him. We can all twist scripture and make it whatever we want. We can use it to justify our bad behavior as well as condemn others of theirs. God says he wants us to follow him because he is the Lord and today he tells us how to follow him. If we spend time with him, we will know how best to follow him.

I read a quote today from Mother Teresa that I thought was very profound which said; “I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that he will guide me to do whatever I am supposed to do, what I can do. I used to pray for answers, but now I am praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things. Now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.”

Mike Burke; Monday, February 15, 2016

Filled With The Holy Spirit


Today’s Gospel reading from Luke 4 begins; “Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.” The key phrase for me throughout this entire scripture passage is “filled with the Holy Spirit.”

To combat temptation, like Jesus, I am finding out that the Holy Spirit is my answer. Jesus, hungry after not eating for 40 days is face to face with the Father of lies. Here is the synopsis of their conversation;

Satan: “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”

Jesus: “It is written, One does not live on bread alone.

Satan: “I shall give to you all this power and glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I may give it to whomever I wish. All this will be yours, if you worship me.”

Jesus: “It is written: You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.

Satan: “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Jesus: “It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.

In being tempted, all of the replies of Jesus were from scripture. Knowing the Word of God seems like a pretty good way to fight off the temptation of sin. I have been a musician all of my adult life. I was blessed to play Mass on Saturday night and again today on Sunday. But there were times in my musical life, where temptations were great to give in to sin. The consequences of my bad decisions that Jesus permitted with his gift of my free will, affect me greatly today. I now hate sin and want nothing to do with it, not because of the consequences, but because it offends my Lord.

Today, I sing, I finish Mass, I am filled with the Eucharist, I am living in the power of the Holy Spirit, I have no groupies, I feel no temptations and I am with my family in Christ. Then, I walk out the church doors. Come Holy Spirit!

Mike Burke; Sunday, February 14, 2016
Filled With The Holy Spirit

Come, Follow Me


While reading the Gospel from Luke 5, I am filled with a great sense of thanksgiving. I am not sure how to even explain it. I know my upbringing, my past and my present. My life is changing it seems like every moment. Today, Levi, a tax collector, the scum of the earth, is asked to follow Jesus. He leaves everything behind and follows him.

I am like Levi. I have heard the call of Jesus and all I want for my life is to follow him. I am a sinner, have been a great sinner and yet, I have heard the call like Levi.

So the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to Jesus’ disciples about him eating and drinking with the scummy people like Levi. They seem to put themselves above the likes of tax collectors and sinners.

I am like the Pharisees and their scribes. Today, a strange looking man came into my office and asked for directions. I approached him with kindness and went back to my desk to look up the location he was looking for. A coworker came to my desk concerned and I said “do you know where this place is at so I can get this guy out of the office?”

As soon as those words came out of my mouth I was ashamed that I spoke like that in front of my coworker. There is Jesus, standing before me in my office and I am hurriedly trying to push him out because he doesn’t look like I want him to. I was very disappointed in myself and asked for God’s forgiveness.

Later in the day, I had a second chance as it happened again with another person. This one was even a bit stranger than the first but I hope God was much more pleased with how I treated him this time. Jesus told the Pharisees and their scribes, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

I am not always healthy and I can get sick at times in sin. I am so thankful Jesus continues to call me to repentance and allow me to receive his love and mercy. Jesus, I love you! Jesus, I trust in you!

Mike Burke; Saturday, February 13, 2016
Come, Follow Me

Life In The “Fast” Lane


I am not sure why the concept of fasting always gravitates to food when I think of it. Maybe I have too much of an attachment for food. It’s something for me to definitely look at. Today’s first reading from Isaiah 58 and the Gospel from Matthew 9 talk about fasting.

God really admonishes his people through the words of Isaiah about their motives for fasting. Isaiah says, “Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: That a man bow his head like a reed and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?”

We most likely have heard the likes of how Isaiah explains what God considers an acceptable fast. Jesus also touches on the same points in the Gospel of Matthew 25. But keeping with God’s message through the prophet Isaiah, here is today’s list.

  1. “Releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke”
  2. “Setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke”
  3. “Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless”
  4. “Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own”

It kind of reminds me that I should be looking out for you by truly loving and caring for your needs. My prayer tonight is Philippians 2:3-4;

“Do nothing out of selfishness or vain glory, rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests but also everyone for those of others.”


Mike Burke; Friday, February 12, 2016
Life In The “Fast” Lane

It’s Either Me Or Him


I cannot tell you how often I pray to surrender my life completely to Jesus. I want to be like him. So this Lent I am giving up me! I no longer want to exist but only the Spirit of Jesus living in me. It’s probably not too realistic because sin = me and for me to follow the Lord, sin cannot exist. I need help living a life pleasing to Jesus.

Today’s Gospel reading from Luke 9 pretty much spells out how I have to live this life of Christ. Am I really ready to follow Jesus? “The Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected … and be killed.” I probably am not as ready as I think but if Christ is living in me, he is ready. He has already proven his love through suffering and dying for me. “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Again, that would seem impossible for me but not for Jesus. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Why would I want to save my sinful life? “What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?” I have spent way too much of my life trying to gain the world, actually, failing and failing and failing to gain the whole world. I am pretty sure that part of God’s permitting will of allowing me to fail, was to help draw me ever closer to him and to realize that I cannot do good things on my own without him.

I have been praying this prayer often;

“Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore you. Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me, tell me what to 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 know your will.”

And now I need to trust God, be open to receive his grace and get out of the way.

Mike Burke; Thursday, February 11, 2016
It’s Either Me Or Him