Coheirs With Christ

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This week of reading scripture has been very different for me. I have been very inspired to pray more, read slowly and ask questions. The results are amazing to me. I do not think my writing will be different or more inspiring but I have received a grace that I am loved by our Heavenly Father beyond any measure I could possibly share.

I focus very much on my sinfulness. I know how weak I am as a disciple of Jesus and I tend to share that a lot in my writing. When I read passages from scripture, especially the Gospels, I can easily point to the sinner I am. I do think it is important to recognize the sin in me so that I can ask for help to be a better version of who I was created to be. But in spite of my sins, I am truly loved by God and that message seems to be much clearer to me.

St. Paul, in Ephesians 3, talks about being given an insight to the mystery of Christ. That insight was given only to him, the apostles and disciples by the power of the Holy Spirit. That revelation was great news for us “that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same Body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel.” We are those same Gentiles. As a father, my children are welcome to everything I have. They are coheirs. How much greater is it for each of us to know that everything our Heavenly Father has is for us as coheirs with Christ!

Thank you Heavenly Father for this promise of adoption for us. Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus, gave His life out of love for us in doing Your Holy Will. In the Spirit of love and thanksgiving, all glory and praise is Yours Father through your Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever, Amen.

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Mike Burke; Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Coheirs With Christ

Lambs Among Wolves

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The Gospel Acclamation today is from John 15:16-17. If I was ever to wonder if my life has any meaning or if God has a purpose for me, these few words should answer any doubts I might have. Jesus 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.

Sometimes my thought process has it backwards. With my free will, I think that I came up with the plan to pick up my cross and follow Jesus. I know the truth, that Jesus chose me and gives me sufficient grace to bear fruit in loving others like He loves me. There is my cross, to love one another. Jesus, in today’s Gospel from Luke 10:1-9, appoints 72 disciples to be sent to every town He plans to visit. He gives them explicit directions and tells them they will be sent like “lambs among wolves.”

In understanding His words, loving others will not be easy. Putting others needs before my own is not easy. Being patient with someone who is unreasonable is not easy. Caring for someone who does not like me is not easy. If I believe the words of Jesus, I am told that in my journey to bear fruit in loving others, my Heavenly Father will give me whatever I ask in Jesus’ name. Do I really believe that? I will tell you today that I do but I will also tell you that my words too often speak louder than my actions. Reading this passage, my desire to speak Christ must be accompanied by being Christ for others.

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Mike Burke; Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Lambs Among Wolves

Rest, Eat, Drink, Be Merry

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What matters to God? I guess each of us will answer that question based on our relationship with our Lord. My answer would be that we love Him with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength and that we love everyone. Love is probably the simple answer, which would make me rich in God, as He is love. In the Gospel today from Luke 12:13-21, Jesus tells the Parable of the Rich Fool. It is about a rich man that had so much that he built larger barns to store everything in it so that he could rest, eat, drink and be merry.

I know I have bought into that lie in my lifetime. I grew up striving to be the best, wanting lots of money and things and believing that I would be a failure if I did not achieve these goals. It has taken me such a long time to believe and understand that what matters to God is what is most important and the only way to know what is important to Him is to spend time and have a great relationship with Him.

One can reach the top of the world with fame, success, money, things and everything else the world offers. I work at a college and I see students day in and day out pressured to succeed by the expectations of their parents, professors and themselves to compete for worldly honor. What happens when the do achieve their goals to succeed? Like the rich man in today’s parable, will they work so hard to store up all their riches, to retire early and rest, eat, drink and be merry?

If so, this is what God tells the rich man today … 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 the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” I have heard it said, “When you die, you can’t take it with you.” So the question again that begs to be answered for your life is, “What matters to God?”

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Mike Burke; Monday, October 17, 2016
Rest, Eat, Drink, Be Merry

P.U.S.H.

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A widow continues to bother a dishonest judge to render a just decision against her adversary. Finally, the dishonest judge says While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.” This is the parable that Jesus tells in the Gospel from Luke 18:1-8.

Jesus tells us … “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Our priest’s homily tonight spoke about persistence in prayer. He used P.U.S.H. – Pray Until Something Happens. It seems clever and makes sense to me to pray always but it is so easy to fall into the trap thinking that our prayers are never answered or what difference will my prayer make in the big scheme of things.

As the United States of America nears another presidential election, our nation is in a mess. We as Christians cannot even agree on what is right or wrong. If I pray for this and you pray for that or I pray for him and you pray for her, does it even matter to God? My limited knowledge, understanding and wisdom says no on the surface but the question Jesus asked at the end of the Gospel tells me it does matter. When Jesus comes, will he find faith on earth? He will find faith in me. I trust Him and if He tells me to call out to Him day and night, then I better listen. Regardless what happens in this election or in the world, I will continue to pray and trust in the Lord.

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Mike Burke; Sunday, October 16, 2016
P.U.S.H.

Repentance & Mercy

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Luke 12:10, Matthew 12:31 and Mark 3:29 were very troubling passages for me early in my Christian journey. I used to wonder, have I ever blasphemed the Holy Spirit? The explanation in 1864 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is one I recite daily as a reminder of God’s mercy and as a prayer. It says …

“Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.” There are no limits to the mercy of God, but anyone who deliberately refuses to accept his mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit. Such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss. (1864 CCC)

God’s mercy is so much greater than our sins, and as the teaching tells us, there are no limits to His mercy. Glory and praise to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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Mike Burke; Saturday, October 15, 2016
Repentance & Mercy

Concealed – Revealed

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Tonight as I read scripture and reflect, in my life I have done many things I am not proud of. Jesus says … “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.” How embarrassing and humiliating it will be for me to make known to the world the darkness in my life. Somehow, I think I should be sad thinking about this but I am not. In fact, right or wrong, I am going to rejoice in the mercy of God and trust that He will lead me out of darkness through His mercy.

I have so much to be thankful for and give praise and glory to God. Tomorrow, I am blessed with picking up two of my beautiful grandchildren after work, to spend the weekend with me. I am scheduled to play Mass music on Saturday evening and oh yes, the Dodgers won tonight and made it to the NLCS to play against the Cubs. (I thought I would throw that in there since I grew up a Dodger fan and worked for them for 11 years.)

With all the negatives going on in this world, there is hope in the light of Jesus who tells us just how much we are loved … “Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.”

Thanks be to God! 

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Mike Burke; Friday, October 14, 2016
Concealed – Revealed

Why Jesus?

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Saint Paul gives an answer in Ephesians 1:3-10.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In Christ we have redemption by his Blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth. 

My answer: I am nothing without Jesus. Nothing. 

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Mike Burke; Thursday, October 13, 2016
Why Jesus?