Yesterday, I shared a short snippet of self-pity in the sharing of struggle in my life. I said I wanted to run and hide. Today I made a better choice and went to the Lord for some Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Courage, Counsel, Piety and Fear of the Lord. I started with morning prayer, a holy hour with the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel, Confession, Mass and the Eucharist. What I learned was that I have a most merciful God who is very patient with me while asking me to trust him and to be patient with him, myself and others.
It was great advice as I reflect because most of my struggle is coming from my impatience of not knowing where my life is heading especially in a marriage that has been struggling for a seemingly long time. I have been feeling like I need to make something happen yet done nothing. Doing nothing at this point may be my answer to peace while I seek to be patient to see where the Lord leads us in his time.
Today’s second reading from Romans 5:1-5 speaks to me right where I am as St. Paul says… “and we boast in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”
Boasting in hope sounds great to me so until I lose my way and the Shepherd searches again for me, his lost sheep, I thank you for your love, prayers, comments and concern and know that I have not stopped praying for you. We are all in this together, brothers and sisters in Christ. Amen, Alleluia!
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Mike Burke; Sunday, May 22, 2016
My goal in my blog and all my previous writings is to reflect each day on scripture and to share my life, the good, the bad and the ugly. I think I am in a bad stage at the moment, still much good happening but really a lot of challenges that I would like to run away from and hide.
So I will pray for you reading this, my family, friends and all in my life (that brings me peace) believing that God will answer all prayers according to his will. I will trust that he will bring me out of my funk. I love you Jesus. You know me better than I know myself and right now, I am not liking me too much. I thank you because I know you love me, just like I am, a sinful man and you will bring me through this. Amen.
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Mike Burke; Saturday, May 21, 2016
I heard a message in today’s scripture passage from James 5:9-12 of perseverance. I have really felt tested this week and think I have failed so many of the tests. I am finding myself grumbling inwards while faking my smile and my feeble attempts of being Jesus to the world I live in.
Today again, a minor setback at work with my computer set me off. I worked for a couple of hours restoring an important document that had been lost with my files. When finished, I saved it to both the hard drive and an external drive. When I went to retrieve it, it would not open and seemed corrupted. So what does a person do, I went to lunch to overeat and lament about my problems and frustrations with my coworkers and of course, my unhappiness with the IT guy trying to fix my computer.
Saint James begins… “Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates.” I should have remembered this before I went to lunch. He continues… “Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. Indeed we call blessed those who have persevered.” I will not give up and by the grace of God will persevere through all of my worldly challenges.
But I know my hope lies in the Lord as Saint James says… “You have heard of the perseverance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, because the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” There are those beautiful words that the Lord is compassionate and merciful. I believe so much in God’s love and mercy and I know that I must extend my love and mercy to others to glorify him.
When I returned from lunch, the IT guy begins to work again on my computer and I asked him to disable a drive our office has been using because he thought it might be the problem. He did disable it and all of my files came back and loaded properly. With joy we high fived! I then walked out of the office and what came to mind were the words of Saint Peter after he did not trust Jesus, “Depart from me Lord for I am a sinful man.” Perseverance to me means I have to learn and keep on keeping on as we used to say in the 70’s. Hopefully one of these days I will get it and cooperate more fully with the grace given me. Amen.
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Mike Burke; Friday, May 20, 2016
Today’s first reading from James 5:1-6 got me to thinking about the lottery. I used to be and I say used to be one who thought “If only I could win the lottery I would…” Many will disagree with me but I believe today without a doubt, that if I won the lottery, it would ruin my life and I would be on the road to hell.
Scripture talks about storing up riches and not being able to take any of it with us when we die. St. James says also “You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.” How many comments have we made in our dreams of winning the lottery that we would give this much away, buy this, move here, travel there and many other “things” one can do or have with a lot of money. I for one could not handle the responsibility of following the will of God with a lot of money. I just could not do it.
I think the temptations would be so great even with the desire to share it with those in need. The Responsorial Psalm 49:17-20 also says today…Do not fear when a man becomes rich, when the wealth of his house grows great. At his death he will not take along anything, his glory will not go down after him. During his life his soul uttered blessings; “They will praise you, for you do well for yourself.” But he will join the company of his fathers, never again to see the light.
Never see light! I am not financially rich by the world’s standards but I have to be on guard for the excess luxury and pleasure available to me. I have a lot already, more than I need and this in itself should wake me up. There is a prayer that I say daily that I started for one of my New Year’s Resolutions 2 years ago. It is Proverbs 30:7-9 and I believe it has helped me greatly to not desire too much or too little…Two things I ask of you, do not deny them to me before I die: Put falsehood and lying far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; provide me only with the food I need; Lest, being full, I deny you, saying, “Who is the LORD?” Or, being in want, I steal, and profane the name of my God.
As much as our Lord talks about how difficult it will be for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, let us pray in gratitude and thanksgiving for what we have been given and to use all of God’s grace for his glory and not our own. Amen.
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Mike Burke; Thursday, May 19, 2016
Responsorial Psalm 49:11
Blessed are the poor in spirit; the Kingdom of heaven is theirs!
For he can see that wise men die,
and likewise the senseless and the stupid pass away,
leaving to others their wealth.
Well, my interesting life continues today. Forgive me for taking this totally out of context but I wish the senseless and the stupid in me would pass away. I have nowhere to go but to Jesus. That is to be poor in spirit and allow Jesus to fill me with his Spirit. My will does not work and each day I seem to find ways to prove it to myself.
I think I am a pretty efficient employee and work pretty diligently. I have a new computer but am really struggling with the way our IT manager has set it up. I like things neat and in order. I get rid of much that I do not want to see and hide it in folders to retrieve when I want them. It drives our IT manager nuts when he works on my computer.
So today he is frustrated with me and says you are the only person in the world that does ??? with your computer. So I decide to give in and move all my files to my desktop for easy access. He had so many transferred duplicate files on my computer that I was deleting. I was near the end of transferring to my desktop when I tried to move a file called desktop to a folder I marked “stuff I never use” so if our IT guy needed it, there it would be.
When I put it in the folder, it was a duplicate file and asked if I wanted to send it to the recycle bin. I said yes. It then popped up that the file was too big to send to the recycle bin so do I want to permanently delete it. Since it was a duplicate, I said yes. Boom! Every file on my desktop gone. Needless to say, my IT guy was not happy with me. He has restored to previous dates but there are important files that have not returned.
Lord, lesson I hope learned. I should have known better. What I feel bad about is putting our IT guy though all of this for my senseless and stupid mistake. I know that is not what this passage means, but I need your love, mercy and compassion. Well, tomorrow’s another day, “God willing” as it says in today’s first reading from James 4:13-17. Thanks be to God!
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Mike Burke; Wednesday, May 18, 2016
I am finishing up my day at work as I write for tomorrow’s scripture reflection. It’s been about 12 hours here and I have had a difficult ending to my day. I told my boss that I wasted 3 hours of my day trying to fix something that was not broken, at least in the eyes of the experts. So be it. You do your best and by the grace of God I will come back tomorrow refreshed and ready to serve for another day.
So feeling a little sorry for myself, I read St. James in his Epistle 4:1-10 and he yells at me tonight! I know there is a reason and I just want to cling to Jesus to save me from St. James. Here is what he said to me tonight;
Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from? Is it not from your passions that make war within your members? You covet but do not possess. You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war. You do not possess because you do not ask. You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. Adulterers! Do you not know that to be a lover of the world means enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wants to be a lover of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
I’ll stop there. He knows me very well, probably better than I know myself. How about a little mercy and compassion? Yes, I am an adulterer, an ashamed adulterer. My past before Christ is filled with all 7 of the deadly sins. I still fight them today but I am aware of the grace and help I am now given to battle. I do not love the world I tell you. I am in the world but not of the world. Yet, St. James knows I still have attachments that separate me from God.
Why would anyone love a sinner like me? Besides our loving Father, Jesus, Mother Mary, St. Joseph and all the glorious Saints and Angels of God, I know two special young women that love me, even the sinful dad I am and they are my daughters, a true gift from God.
My youngest daughter Megan celebrates a birthday today and I want to shout to the world how much I love her and thank God for the undeserved blessings she has brought to my life along with her husband Blayne and my grandson Gavin. Happy Birthday Sweetheart! I love you so much! I hope you enjoy the blessings of your special day!
Mike Burke; Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Jesus, in today’s Gospel from Mark 9:14-29, was asked by the father of a boy that was possessed by a mute spirit that had often thrown him into fire and water to kill him, to help his son. The father says to Jesus, “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” That’s when Jesus replies, “If you can!” I have always pictured Jesus probably the way I would react to a problem that I definitively knew I could solve with a kind of superior attitude with a little head-shaking. I seemingly often lose sight of how much Jesus loves me, loves you and loved that father and son and would react in his love and mercy unlike myself.
Thinking about the father’s question, I am reminded that when I approach Jesus with my prayers and requests, I too often think just like that father and wonder if Jesus can or will help me with my request. I have grown to pray with the attitude that your will be done Lord and not mine. This is good. But as Jesus conversed with this father, he asked him questions and the father responded. I think Jesus would like to hear more from me about what I want, why I want and then accept his grace to listen and trust him. I know Jesus already knows what I want before I ask but he also wants to hear it from me in my personal relationship with him.
The complete response from Jesus was “If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.” He did heal the boy. A large crowd had gathered and it was very dramatic. What I did not mention was that his disciples were not able to heal the boy and later they asked Jesus why they could not drive the spirit out. Jesus told them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
I think the Gospel today is imploring me to pray with a greater faith, but maybe foremost, to pray for greater faith. Jesus, I do believe just as the father of the boy you healed said to you in today’s Gospel, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” Jesus, I trust in you. Have mercy on me, on us and on the whole world. Amen.
Mike Burke; Monday, May 16, 2016
No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:3B
“Jesus is Lord!” There, I said it. The Holy Spirit lives in me and that is the truth. I have no doubt at all. St. Paul tells me, Holy Scripture tells me and Jesus tells me.
“The Advocate, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you.”
So if the Holy Spirit lives in me, will teach me everything and remind me of all that Jesus has told us, why don’t I listen, learn and follow? It is probably because I am so into me, that sin of pride that robs me of the humility I desperately seek to reflect Jesus.
I am a much better writer than I am a conversationalist. When I write, I have time to pray and reflect, look up scripture, do research and think about what I am saying. I can reread what I write and make changes if I think what I am saying is not loving or how I think Jesus would communicate.
Now when I speak to others, my passion often takes over. I speak a hundred miles an hour, exaggerate, seek humor and say pretty much anything to get my point across. Holy Spirit, where are you? Honestly, I think the Holy Spirit continues to let me speak and then cleans up the mess I make. It’s probably the hard lesson I have to learn. Today at Mass and in a Holy Hour with Jesus, I became a little more aware that I have to slow down, listen, pray and speak if necessary with great love and com“passion”.
It’s a new day, a fresh start! In a Spirit of love and thanksgiving and bathing in the mercy of God I ask; Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit, they shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth…..and me! Amen.
Mike Burke; Sunday, May 15, 2016 Pentecost Sunday
I was thinking as I write today (Friday) how stressful this week has been. I have had meetings and have been mostly silent because I disagree with how some things are being handled but I realize my place on the “food chain” at my work. I received a new computer at work, which I am very thankful but I have lost files or at least cannot find them in the transfer, web settings and passwords starting over and it’s really frustratingly different from the comfort of my old one.
Today is graduation day on the University campus I work on and I arrived at my parking structure at 5:30am to beat the complete parking and traffic chaos that will test the nerves of so many. God bless our graduates!
This week I have been arriving at work at 8:30am and getting home around 9:30pm. Tomorrow, I will be at church to play music for the First Communion Mass at 11am. Rehearsal starts at 9am. Tomorrow evening, I play for the Pentecost Vigil Mass at 5pm. Rehearsal starts at 3pm. On Sunday morning, I play for the 11am Pentecost Mass and rehearsal starts at 9am.
For me this is challenging as I can let the “thoughts” of the immensity of “things” frustrate me. I can make a molehill into a mountain just by thinking about what I have to do. It is not a characteristic that I like about myself but one I am aware of and praying for the grace to better accept what happens in my life.
So I open up today’s Gospel passage from John 15:9-17. And the verse that speaks to me says “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”
Enough said, frustration vanished and a Spirit of Thanksgiving I offer for these blessings in my life. How selfish I can be sometimes. Aren’t we all fortunate we have such a merciful and loving Savior in Jesus? A patient and loving Heavenly Father? And the power of their love in the Holy Spirit living in us? I need nothing more. Amen.
Mike Burke; Saturday, May 14, 2016
The Gospel from John 21:15-19 tells the story of Jesus asking Peter “do you love me” three times, the same amount of times that Peter denied Jesus during his passion. But at the end of today’s Gospel, Jesus tells Peter to “follow me.” And we know that Peter did follow Jesus, even to a cruel death of being crucified upside down.
I am reminded again that following Jesus includes the cross. I am so abundantly blessed but there are times when I face challenges and seemingly lose sight of Jesus. Challenges and crosses in my life cannot rob me of my JOY in following Jesus.
Today, I think about and remember my dad, Glen Burke who was born on this day. He passed away in 2000. My dad loved me, his spoiled child who was given everything a kid could ever want. I did not appreciate my dad and mom enough in my opinion but I know they loved me and I loved them. We all did the best we could and we leave everything to the mercy of our Lord. I would say in faith that we are all in pretty good hands! I love you dad!
Mike Burke; Friday, May 13, 2016