Parable of the Rich Fool

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Today in the Gospel of Luke 12:13-21, Jesus tells the crowd the Parable of the Rich Fool. Before He addresses the crowd, someone came to him and asked him to tell his brother to share the inheritance with him. Right there, I read a sense of greed in the question. Jesus turns to the crowd and says … “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Most of us are not considered rich per say but we do have many possessions. I have more than I need evidenced by what sits idly in my closet and garage. Jesus elaborates with His parable saying … “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”

I have heard sayings such as “You can’t take it with you” or just the opposite, “The one with the most toys wins.” I have laughed at the story of a rich man who told his wife that when he died, he wanted to be buried with all his money. When he died, his wife complied and wrote a check in the amount of all his money and put it in the casket with him. Greed is a deadly sin. We will all have our opinions of how much is too much and justify how much we give away or do for the poor. I think Jesus again wants to bring to our attention the need to love and care about others and not just about ourselves. If someone is in need, I should do what I can to help with the resources God has given me.

This daily Bible verse from Proverbs 30:7-9 is one I pray each day to remind me to trust in the Lord and His providence … 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.

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Mike Burke; Sunday, July 31, 2016
Parable of the Rich Fool

Persecution For The Sake Of Righteousness Is A Blessing

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The Gospel passage that I read today was the account of the beheading of John the Baptist. Yesterday, I wrote about hate and being hated. The Gospel acclamation today is from Matthew 5:10 and I want to trust Jesus on this one with all my heart … “Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. 

It is a beautiful promise, one that I am unworthy of. Life can be very difficult and challenging. As a Christian, I am going to suffer and I am going to be persecuted. Praise the Lord! Amen.

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Mike Burke; Saturday, July 30, 2016
Persecution For The Sake Of Righteousness Is A Blessing

How Many People Hate Me?

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Well, the simple answer is 9,243 that I am aware of. I know I am just being silly as it is probably more! As I was reflecting on today’s scripture readings, the Lord told Jeremiah to prophesy the exact words He would tell him so that the people may turn back to Him. Instead, the people hated what Jeremiah was saying and wanted to put him to death.

How many people hate me? Hate is a very strong word. I believe there are many people on social media sites that do not like or hate that I post a scripture reflection each day. Do they hate me because they knew me before my conversion and see me as a hypocrite? Do they disagree with what I have to say? Do they not believe in God and consider me a fool? Do they hate me because I am Catholic and part of a church they consider evil with all the sinful people and priests? There could be many reasons but as I ponder this, Jesus told us that it would be like this and that we are blessed if we are hated because of Him.

A part of Psalm 69 stood out for me today … Those outnumber the hairs of my head who hate me without cause. Too many for my strength are they who wrongfully are my enemies. Must I restore what I did not steal? Since for your sake I bear insult, and shame covers my face. I have become an outcast to my brothers, a stranger to my mother’s sons, Because zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who blaspheme you fall upon me. 

Growing up as a people pleaser, it was not easy for me to not be liked. As I grow more in my faith in desiring to be holy and follow Jesus, it opens me to judgment especially when I might fail to witness the light of Jesus in my words or actions. Holiness is not being perfect but striving to do the will of God. Sometimes I think people just hate me because someone may like me. Go figure. Well, tonight I end by telling all the people in the world who hate me, that I am going to give you another reason to hate me even more. I AM PRAYING FOR YOU whether you like it or not because Jesus loves you and He expects that from me.

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Mike Burke; Friday, July 29, 2016
How Many People Hate Me?

I Am The Potter’s Clay

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I took the day off from work and spent most of the day sleeping. I have been getting less sleep recently and I think exhaustion caught up with me. As I write, I feel very refreshed and thankful. God is so good to me!

Psalm 146 begins today … “Hallelujah! Praise the LORD, O my soul; I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live.” So part of my day, I did go into my music room to sing praise to God. I am again, blessed to be asked, to fill in musically at Mass this Sunday, just me and my piano to lead our congregation in praising God.

The Gospel passage today is from Matthew 13:47-53, which again, talks to us about what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. I, like most of us writing and reading Christian blogs, want to go to Heaven. Jesus tells us … “The Kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea, which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age.” I used to read passages like this in the most negative of ways. I, because I know my sins, would look at myself as the bad fish thrown away. Now, because of a deeper relationship with Jesus, I have come to know of His great mercy and His desire for me to repent of my sins and continue to come back to Him fully.

In today’s first reading from Jeremiah 18:1-6, what is written I believe to be true and a saving grace for me personally. The words spoken are … “I went down to the potter’s house and there he was, working at the wheel. Whenever the object of clay which he was making turned out badly in his hand, he tried again, making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased. Then the word of the LORD came to me: Can I not do to you, house of Israel, as this potter has done? says the LORD.” Cannot the Lord take the sinful man that I am, made of clay, and reshape me into the Holy man I was created to be? Yes! I think that I am that work in progress. We know as believers, that by ourselves, it is impossible, but all things are possible with God. I will put my faith and trust in Him. Alleluia!

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Mike Burke; Thursday, July 28, 2016
I Am The Potter’s Clay

What Do I Treasure?

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Here is today’s short Gospel reading from Matthew 13:44-46

Jesus said to his disciples:
“The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,
which a person finds and hides again,
and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant
searching for fine pearls.
When he finds a pearl of great price,
he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.”

What is my treasure or pearl of great price? I know it is my Lord. I would give all that I have for my relationship with God. I believe God loves me and only wants what is best for me. Why would I want anything other than God when He will give me everything I desire according to His will?

I have been in a broken marriage for many years now. We are still together and through our struggles, I have drawn closer to God who has given me the grace to continue to love my spouse even when I may not receive the reciprocal love I desire. He has given me a job that I enjoy that keeps me busy with a very long drive, to and from work, to pray and be in communion with Him. He has given me a supervisor who loves the Lord and loves to spend time in prayer and communication praising His Holy Name. Yes, me a Catholic, and my supervisor, a Baptist, gathering each day in the intimacy of Christ to share our lives so deeply with each other.

The night before last, I was invited by a co-worker to watch the Olympic Women’s Basketball team play. I am a former basketball junkie and to have the opportunity to share time with a co-worker and a sport I thoroughly enjoy was another gift from God. Last night, three of my former softball players that I coached in high school took me to a Dodger Game. These three woman, whom I spent many an afternoon yelling at and disciplining, love me enough to want to spend time with their more than goofy ex-coach. These blessings are all from the Lord. I believe it is because my treasure is the Lord. I deserve none of these blessings. My Lord blesses me daily because He loves me. He loves me more than I could ever love myself. Praise and Glory to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Mike Burke; Wednesday, July 27, 2016
What Do I Treasure?

For The Glory Of Your Name

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Psalm 79 today touches on the Glory of the Name of God. I am filled with praise and thanksgiving for God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Honestly, just to think of God brings me peace. I do believe I am never alone even though I spend much time by myself in silence and in prayer.

I am feeling so very thankful. I could list much of what I am thankful for as I am blessed beyond what I deserve. But what I am most thankful for today is the Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne who are celebrated today as the parents of our Blessed Mother Mary, chosen to be the Mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus. Parents are so important. God bless all the parents in the world. May God’s grace guide them and their children into the light of Christ.

Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us! Amen.

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Mike Burke; Tuesday, July 26, 2016
For The Glory Of Your Name

Those Who Sow In Tears Shall Reap Rejoicing

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The response of Psalm 126 today is “Those who sow in tears shall reap rejoicing.” The Psalm was written for a specific event in biblical history but it took on a different meaning for me. I am still a lover of sports and enjoy, when I am given the opportunity, watching and following my favorite teams and sports.

Sunday evening, I am celebrating with family some birthdays at a restaurant. On my left, the Dodgers/Cardinals baseball game and on my right, the USA/China Olympic preparation basketball game. Now before I am criticized for watching the games and not focusing on family, I will honestly tell you that the family was first and I did some homework after dinner.

A young man, Mike Mayer, was making his major league debut for the Cardinals on national TV before his home crowd and family that were there. The cameras focused on his family and their excitement and nerves, as Mike was ready to pitch. The first 3 batters got on base and the fourth batter hit a grand slam. Before the inning was over, he had given up 6 runs. In the second inning he gave up 3 more runs and was taken out giving up 9 runs in less than 2 innings.

I am a Dodger fan and I felt so bad for this young man, his family and friends who came to see him. My wife said, “He will get over it.” She is so right. He was doing a great job in the minors and I think he will go back and work even harder. When he comes back up, he will have more experience and a better understanding of what to expect. Hopefully, what he sowed in tears will allow him some joy next time around.

China lost to the USA tonight by 49 points. They do not have the talent that our USA team has and they struggled. I actually felt bad for them. The USA did not let up. I know they are preparing for the Olympics and want to make a statement, but it was hard for me to watch China struggle. Sometimes it gets me thinking that when you are the so-called best in the world like the USA, be careful because maybe others who are working very hard to beat the best may just end up rejoicing.

Not a very good scripture reflection tonight but I just wanted to share a little of what I witnessed. May God in His mercy, bring us all one day into great rejoicing with Him forever. Amen.

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Mike Burke; Monday, July 25, 2016
Those Who Sow In Tears Shall Reap Rejoicing

Prayer = Bother The Lord, It’s OK

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In Genesis 18:20-32, there was an outcry of prayer against the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. God heard the prayers and decided to wipe out the cities. Abraham, in his own prayerful way, asked God … “will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty?” Then Abraham proposed some scenarios to God starting with … “Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city; would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to make the innocent die with the guilty so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike! Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?”  

I think that was pretty bold of Abraham to speak to God that way. What is amazing to me is that God answered him calmly saying … “If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” Abraham goes on for quite a while in his conversation to get all the way down to what if there were only 10 innocent people? God answered … “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.” When I read about prayer like this, I tend to see one bothering God. I cringe thinking that Almighty God might get even madder at the stupidity of my questions and promptings. God being mad, ha ha, human thinking on my part. But this reading has taught me something about prayer and the purpose of being honest with God.

Psalm 138 today says … “I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth.” God listens to prayer. Then in the Gospel of Luke 11:1-13, it starts with Jesus praying to His Father, the disciples asking Jesus to teach them how to pray so Jesus teaches the Our Father Prayer and then Jesus teaches them in a parable about further prayer. I love this parable. I paraphrase, at midnight a friend comes to a friend’s house and knocks on the door needing 3 loaves of bread for an unexpected guest. The friend in the house tells him to go away because he is already in bed. Now the kicker for me, the wisdom of Jesus says … “I tell you, if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.”

What I have received from these readings is to go ahead and persistently bother the Lord with what is on my mind. I think He likes it, kind of like we do as parents when our children come to us with their problems or whatever is on their minds. The Gospel teaching on prayer continues with “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” I pray much and think I have a great relationship with God but I again realize that I too often try to say things in a way that God will like rather than just trusting that if I say what I mean with complete trust in God, my intimacy with him should grow. I also received some wisdom from our pastor in his homily; if God answers my prayer immediately, He is increasing my faith. If God delays His answer for a little while, He is increasing my patience. If God does not answer my prayer, He is telling me that He has something better for me which would definitely be His will over mine and that is perfect for me. Trust in the Lord with all my heart. Your will be done, not mine. Amen.

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Mike Burke; Sunday, July 24, 2016
Prayer = Bother The Lord, It’s OK

Weeds Among Wheat

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I think that for most of us trying to live a Christian life, we have had people ask us why does God let all of this bad stuff happen in the world. I  respond with “God gives us free will” or “because our sins have consequences” or maybe even “I do not know but I believe God will make a good out of all that is evil.”

Today’s Gospel from Matthew 13:24-30, talks about “The Parable of the Weeds Among the Wheat.” It is a short parable and might be good to read it as written … Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds. “The Kingdom of heaven may be likened to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everyone was asleep his enemy came and sowed weeds all through the wheat, and then went off. When the crop grew and bore fruit, the weeds appeared as well. The slaves of the householder came to him and said, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’ His slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”

I would like to think that I am the wheat among the many weeds of the world but I know I am and have been a weed. As I understand it, God, in His time, will gather them both in as He says and we will know our eternity. It is not mentioned in the parable but I believe with all my heart that God does not want any of us to perish in fire. He continues to call us to repentance and conversion in His great love and mercy for us. I have the free will to choose to follow Him as wheat or to go my own way as a weed. I am not a gardener but for the many years of taking care of my lawns, I do not like weeds.

Have a beautiful weekend!

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Mike Burke; Saturday, July 23, 2016
Weeds Among Wheat

The NBA, Sports Talk And God

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Coming home from a long day of work, the moon is gigantic and it is amazingly breathtaking as I praise our Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. All glory and praise to God! I drive and decide to turn on a sports talk program and they are discussing the NBA pulling out the all-star game from North Carolina because of House Bill 2. Now I was not aware of House Bill 2 until I just read about it a few minutes ago.

I still do not know enough about the Bill to comment with a well-formed conscience, but what I did want to talk about was the sports talk program. The two hosts agreed that the Bill is discriminatory and they think the NBA did the right thing. One of the hosts said to call in and if you disagree, then let’s agree to disagree and be respectful. A caller called in and disagreed and the two hosts gave him 15 seconds to make his point. They then made fun of his take and in my opinion, made some belligerent remarks about what the caller thought. I thought it was very disrespectful and completely opposite of the respect the host asked for.

Anyway, we all have our opinions yet we too often fail to share our opinions and listen to others with respect. I was pondering how Jesus would have handled that situation. I can guarantee it would have been with love and respect, regardless of the opinion shared. I think, if He would be given a chance to speak, He would have spoken softly and calmly with great wisdom. I would really like to know what He thinks about this entire NBA/North Carolina situation. I think I have a pretty good idea but again, it will take me more prayer and study to form a Godly understanding.

So today in our church, is the feast of Mary Magdalene. She ran to the empty tomb, thought she saw a gardener and begged him to tell her where Jesus was taken, only to find out she was talking to the risen Jesus. Wow! I was thinking, it was a wow moment for me also when I found the risen Lord at the age of 33. Mary was clinging to Him. So am I. Mary Magdalene, please pray for us. Amen.

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Mike Burke; Friday, July 22, 2016
The NBA, Sports Talk And God