Relating To Peter


As I read today’s Gospel from John 13:36-38…

Simon Peter said to him, “Master, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, though you will follow later.” Peter said to him, “Master, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Amen, amen, I say to you, the cock will not crow before you deny me three times.”

…I can relate too easily with Peter. Peter speaks from the heart with all good intentions but when the time comes to back it up, sometimes it can be a little too hard to follow through. I have had many “cock crows” in my life that have made me aware of how I have denied Jesus. I have also had the blessing of knowing how loving and merciful our Lord and Savior Jesus is. The look that Jesus gave Peter after the cock crowed must have pierced Peter’s heart with sadness and grief. But we have the “Good News” to know that after the resurrection of Jesus that he appeared to Peter in his mercy to command him to “feed my sheep.” Thanks be to God that as a sheep of God, I am still being fed. Amen.

Mike Burke; Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Relating To Peter

Leave Her Alone


As Holy Week begins, we get mention of Judas Iscariot in today’s Gospel. John, the writer of the Gospel, tells us that Judas is the one who would betray Jesus. Judas questions Jesus about why the expensive oil that Mary, sister of Lazarus and Martha, was using to anoint the feet of Jesus was not being sold for 300 day’s wages and given to the poor. Then John tells us a little more about Judas saying, He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and held the money bag and used to steal the contributions.” That’s when Jesus says;

“Leave her alone. Let her keep this for the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12:7-8)

I am sure Judas did not like hearing this response from Jesus. Judas went on to make some very bad choices because he did not listen to Jesus. I think I too often do the same. Sometimes the interior voice in me says do this or do not do that. I find when I take the time to ask the Holy Spirit to help me discern, I have more peace and understanding in following God’s will. And the opposite of my will be done may seem to work out but more likely leads to more problems.

I was thinking, who do I need to leave alone? Knowing I am not to judge others, I do. I still compare and when I open my mouth about it in conversation, it does nothing but distance me farther from Jesus and closer to the sins of this gossipy world. I hope that reflecting on this today will help to make me a little wiser in caring for others and not to choose the self-gratification that Judas desired.

Mike Burke; Monday, March 21, 2016
Leave Her Alone

Palm Sunday And The Donkey In Me


In reading the Gospel today, a certain passage jumped out; And if anyone should ask you, Why are you untying it? you will answer, The Master has need of it.(Luke 19:31) Most of us know the story as Jesus rides on a donkey through a cheering crowd that many later would yell crucify him.

When I thought about the donkey, Jesus says the Master has need of it. I know in all truth that God really doesn’t need me but because he created me out of his mercy and love, he permits me to be needed to build the Kingdom of God.

The donkey has its strengths, so do I. The donkey has its weaknesses, so do I. The Master needed the donkey. The Master needs me. I think I will leave it right here. Happy Palm Sunday.

Mike Burke; Sunday, March 20, 2016
Palm Sunday And The Donkey In Me

Saint Joseph, Husband Of Mary


Today the church honors my patron saint Joseph, husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus. Here is a man that is a great example for me to follow. I hope one day to live up to his examples so I must keep striving daily to be better by the Grace of God.

St. Joseph:

  1. Never spoke one word in scripture.
  2. Listened to God as he said yes to take Mary as his wife after deciding to divorce her quietly.
  3. Was a very hard worker as a carpenter and he taught Jesus his trade.
  4. Loved his wife and respected her promise to God to remain a virgin.

He served and put others first. Just in that regard, I can learn much. And I am keeping this reflection short on paper but not in heart and mind because in his humility, he most likely would not want me placing him on any pedestal. Everything he did was for the glory of God.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Mike Burke; Saturday, March 19, 2016
Saint Joseph, Husband Of Mary

Handling Persecution


“May he rest in peace. Hope you are doing well —. I remember our senior year that I took some extra yearbook pictures and used — name in the annual. I will pray for his family also. God bless you.” – My quote

“I bet you regret to this day that prank you pulled on — yearbook photo. He will forever be remembered as a funny faced Mike Burke. Thank God with age comes wisdom.” – Former classmate’s reply

These are not quotes from scripture but from a high school class Facebook page. A former classmate just passed away. I did not know him. I really do not remember all the circumstances from 47 years ago but I believe he left the school and I was able to use his name and others to put extra “funny faced” pictures of me in the senior class pictures. I know, pretty dumb but that was me, always looking for attention and trying to be funny.

As you can see, another former classmate, who was friends with our classmate that passed away, was not too pleased. It is a great reminder for me that my actions have consequences, even from way back. To be very honest, this bothers me that I hurt my high school friend with this prank and wonder if it also bothered my deceased classmate whose name I used to be funny. May God forgive me, bless my living classmate and may my deceased classmate rest in the love, mercy and peace of Jesus. Amen.

In today’s Gospel from John 10, the Jews want to stone Jesus for blasphemy because he was a man making himself God. Here is Jesus, perfect in every way, seemingly always being persecuted wherever he traveled leading to his suffering and death on a cross. During Lent, I have been reading about this persecution daily. How interesting that when I experience a tiny persecution from a quote, it can take me back a little. Maybe putting myself in the shoes of Jesus for just a second might help me to better understand what he was willing to suffer for me. We have an amazing Savior!

Mike Burke; Friday, March 18, 2016
Handling Persecution

The Blessings Of A Father


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Today’s readings have Abraham, a father, as the theme. In Genesis 17, God changes the name of Abram to Abraham and tells him that he is making him the father of a host of nations. The Jews in the Gospel of John 8 see Abraham as their father and much greater than Jesus. Jesus tells them; “Amen, amen, I say to you, before Abraham came to be, I AM.” Wow, the Jews knew the meaning of I AM so what did they do? They bowed down and worshiped Jesus just like we do – NOT! They picked up stones to throw at him.

When I read things like that, my first reaction is if they only knew, they would never throw stones. But I do know who Jesus is and I still pick up stones to throw every time I contemplate sin and I actually throw them when I sin.

I share tonight my love and thanksgiving for my most awesome and merciful God. I was blessed tonight to spend the evening with my youngest daughter and grandson. I am so blessed as a father and papa that words cannot describe. I love you Lord more than my heart can express. I end with my short version of St. Patrick’s Breastplate prayer that I pray each day.

Christ with me; Christ before me; Christ behind me; Christ in me; Christ beneath me; Christ above me; Christ on my right; Christ on my left; Christ when I lie down; Christ when I sit down; Christ when I arise; Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me; Christ in the heart of every person who speaks of me; Christ in every eye that sees me; Christ in every ear that hears me; I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity; through belief in the Threeness; through confession of the Oneness of the Creator of Creation. Amen.

Mike Burke; Thursday, March 17, 2016
The Blessings Of A Father

“Come On Baby Light My Fire”


Being a musician and a keyboard player, I fondly remember The Doors and their song “Light My Fire” as they featured a great keyboard intro, solo and ending. It was a time to shine for the fans. There were three men in today’s first reading from Daniel 3:14-95 that really shined in their love and obedience to God.

What would I do today if, let’s say extremists, said to me that I must fall down and worship their statue whenever I heard the sound of the trumpet, flute, lyre, harp, psaltery, bagpipe, and all the other musical instruments or I would be instantly cast into the white-hot furnace? That’s not the message I get from singing Light My Fire or is it? “The time to hesitate is through……”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not hesitate in their response to King Nebuchadnezzar saying; “There is no need for us to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If our God, whom we serve, can save us from the white-hot furnace and from your hands, O king, may he save us! But even if he will not, know, O king, that we will not serve your god or worship the golden statue that you set up.”

Oh-oh, light that fire up as the king ordered the furnace to be heated seven times more than usual and the 3 men cast into the fire. An amazing miracle happened as the king was told; “I see four men unfettered and unhurt, walking in the fire, and the fourth looks like a son of God.” This is some pretty awesome stuff! That same God, the son of God Jesus, walks with us through the fires in our lives every day. How blessed we are!

I end with a prayer from the king who committed this evil act; “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent his angel to deliver the servants who trusted in him; they disobeyed the royal command and yielded their bodies rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.” And with that, I reply with a resounding AMEN!

Mike Burke; Wednesday, March 16, 2016
“Come On Baby Light My Fire”

Complaining Against The Lord

Just as Moses raised the Serpent so must the Son of Man be raised

I guess we have been complaining against God from the beginning of our existence as a people of God. Today’s passage from Numbers 21:4-9 tell of God’s people, whom he has just saved from slavery, complaining that they were disgusted with the wretched food God had given them and no water in the desert. Aren’t we all complainers somewhat when we don’t get our way? It was time to learn a lesson from our God who provides us with everything we need out of love for us.

The Lord sent saraph serpents which bit the people and many of them died. Fortunately, the people came to their senses and scripture tells us; Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray the LORD to take the serpents away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses, “Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live.”

There is a kind of parallel that I see from this passage to my own life. When I complain or maybe more like when I choose my will over God’s will, I get bitten. I am bitten by my sin. Fortunately, when I come to my senses, by the Grace of God, I need not look to a mounted saraph but to someone else who is mounted, Jesus Christ on a cross. He suffered and died for my choice of me over him. And on that cross he spoke about me saying, forgive him Father for he does not know what he is doing.

In today’s Gospel from John, Jesus also told the Jews; “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I AM, and that I do nothing on my own, but I say only what the Father taught me.” And he was lifted up on that cross and today we know I AM to be Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love you. And I beg pardon for all those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love you. Lord have mercy on us. Amen.

Mike Burke; Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Complaining Against The Lord

Eyes To Heaven


Yesterday in the Gospel, a woman caught in adultery was brought to Jesus and through the power of God was spared and given a second chance. In today’s first reading from Daniel 13:1-62, a woman was accused of adultery by two evil judges and again by the power of God through Daniel, was given a second chance after being condemned to death falsely. God saved the guilty one yesterday and God saved the innocent one today.

There was a passage that jumped out at me in the reading that was giving some background on the old judges. When the old men saw her enter every day for her walk, they began to lust for her. They suppressed their consciences; they would not allow their eyes to look to heaven, and did not keep in mind just judgments.” As I read this, they were watching her every day, looking for a chance to lie with her. That simple first look at beauty, without raising their eyes to heaven, led to the sin of lust growing each day which led to their terrible action of trying to force themselves on her.

As I continue to grow old, I still have my issues with thoughts of impurity and how easy my eyes can wander. Some of the best advice I have been given is to try to see everything as a gift from God. When I see someone or something that attracts me that might lead me into a stage of sin like the old judges, it is important to look to heaven and to see God’s glory in it. If I cannot see God’s glory, I must turn away, unlike the evil judges or I will be led into the darkness of my sin.

With all the sins of the world so readily available to us, allowing our eyes to look to heaven will keep us from entering the darkness in the world. I have been in the dark many a day in my life and I can share honestly that it is much better in the light. And finally, God did not save the guilty judges who would not allow their eyes to look to heaven.

Mike Burke; Monday, March 14, 2016
Eyes To Heaven

“Neither Do I Condemn You. Go…….”


Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” (John 8:10-11)

So here I go again being reminded that I am an adulterer just like the woman in today’s Gospel. The scribes and the Pharisees wanted to test Jesus as they present her saying that the Law of Moses says she should be stoned to death. The familiar words of Jesus cut right through their hearts; Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 

I can take much comfort in the words of Jesus until I listen to him speak again to my heart; “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin anymore.” Considering that I just came from the confessional a few hours earlier, you know that I am a sinner. And secondly, there is still some scribe and Pharisee in me as I still find myself often making judgments about others that do not do the things I think they should be doing from the Law of Mike.

The grace I receive in confession is hard to explain. I prepare myself, seeking the power of the Holy Spirit to speak to my heart and soul to bring to mind the areas and sins of my life that separate me from God. Today, as prepared as I thought I was, the Spirit moves as it wills. I realized a big plank in my eye while I was trying to remove the splinter from the eye of another. Pride is a terrible sin.

The words of St. Paul in the 2nd reading today from Philippians 3:13-14 give me hope in moving on from my sins and leave them in the ocean of God’s mercy as he says; “Brothers and sisters, I for my part do not consider myself to have taken possession. Just one thing: forgetting what lies behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus.” I again strive to be perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect and I can only do that in and through Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit so that I will be prepared to meet him at my particular judgment, ready to spend eternity with God forever. Amen.

Mike Burke; Sunday, March 13, 2016
“Neither Do I Condemn You. Go…….”