R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
Praise the LORD, all you nations, glorify him, all you peoples!
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
For steadfast is his kindness toward us, and the fidelity of the LORD endures forever.
R. Go out to all the world, and tell the Good News.
What kind of good news will I tell today in my little world? Will I tell the good news of Jesus Christ? If so, how will I tell the good news?
I just want to share that in my passion and love for Jesus, I have done some good and some bad in telling the good news. I have probably pushed people further away from Jesus with my exuberance. Some people have me shaking my head because of their exuberance for Christ. We can all do and say some pretty unkind, judgmental and unmerciful things in our love for the Lord.
So today, in trying to understand the Psalmist, I am to tell the good news by praising the Lord, telling of his unwavering kindness toward us and that God is faithful in His promises to us even when we are unfaithful to Him and His fidelity endures forever. That is very good news for a sinful world to hear. May His will be done. Amen.
An old saying that I heard growing up was “if the shoe fits, wear it.” That was told to me when I should “own up” to something I might have said or done when I was trying to avoid taking responsibility for it. I was someway reminded of this when I read Galatians 1:23, when the churches of Judea were talking about Paul saying … “the one who once was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” Paul had a tremendous conversion. He had to wear the shoes of persecuting Christians but by the grace of God, he was able to receive a new pair of shoes.
I had a tremendous conversion at the age of 33. I was not a believer. I just avoided religion and people who talked about God. My wife and I attended a Marriage Encounter Weekend, one I reluctantly went to with the firm resolve to walk out if they tried to force God down my throat. Like St. Paul, I was hit over the head with a two-by-four and I fell in love with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Now I wear a different pair of shoes as many of my staunch beliefs growing up have changed drastically. I am not one with all the answers in fact, I am learning daily. What I will profess is that I am trying my best every day to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I am trying my best to love every person I come in contact with. These are very big shoes to fill and so far, I need to grow into them but once they fit, I will wear them for all eternity.
Today’s Gospel story from the mouth of Jesus is the story of the Good Samaritan. The story tells of a man who is beaten by robbers and left for dead. A priest walks by and crosses on the other side of the road. Then a Levite comes by and does the same. A Samaritan, who was despised by Jews, 1) poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them; 2) Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn, and cared for him; 3) The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction, “Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.”
Jesus told this story because he was being tested by a scholar of the law. Can you imagine testing God? Unfortunately, I think we do the same more than we know. The scholar answers his own question about what must he do to inherit eternal life by telling Jesus to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. But he wished to justify himself and asked Jesus, “and who is my neighbor?” We then get the Good Samaritan story.
The Gospel of Luke 10:25-37 concludes with this dialogue … Jesus asks, “which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” He answered, “The one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
What the Samaritan did was amazing in my eyes. I wonder how many people I have passed by throughout my life. What I have learned about myself is that I do little things such as giving a smile, a compliment, a helpful hand and maybe even writing this daily reflection, which is my way of treating others with love and mercy. I have had to learn that it may not be much but it is what I can do and I think it is pleasing to God.
After reading today’s scripture passages from Luke and Job, what comes to mind is how important it is to give glory and praise to God constantly and to deepen my personal relationship with Him. There is nothing I can do better than to love my Lord, and for His glory and praise, love everyone He places in my life.
Job did it even amidst all of his suffering. Jesus did it for His Father. The disciples of Jesus, returning from their mission, rejoiced and gave glory and praise to God. He deserves all my thanksgiving and praise. I think if people throughout the whole world, would take a moment, just a moment daily to give thanks, praise and glory to God, we would see a great conversion from the evils of darkness to the light of Christ in love for God and neighbor. Amen.
I was thinking as I was reading today’s Gospel that if people really knew me, they would probably consider me to be a little crazy. I pray a lot even when I am in the midst of a conversation. People have no idea that I am praying for them. God is so good. I trust that He will use everything I do and say to somehow glorify Himself through my feeble attempts to serve Him and those in my life. If people saw me in my room as I walk by a picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary, stop, kiss the image my beautiful spiritual mother and tell her I love her, what would they think? Or, if they knew how many times a day I tell Jesus I love Him.
Wow, I really love the Lord. In the Gospel of Luke 9:57-62, Jesus asks certain men to follow Him. The last man in today’s Gospel tells Jesus … “I will follow you, Lord, but first let me say farewell to my family at home.” Even today, how often do we put off following Jesus? As I grow deeper and deeper in love with God, I find myself more at peace even when the things around me do not go as I want them to. God’s will, not mine comes to mind. Jesus tells the man who wants to say farewell to his family … “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God.” I have found Jesus or should I say, been found by Jesus and there is no reason to look back. What is done is done. By the world’s standards, I am overweight, ok..fat, out of shape and considered most likely unfit. But by the grace of God, I am hoping to be fit for the Kingdom of God.
I found myself walking serenely to my car and praying for anyone that hates me because I may have hurt them in some way in the past. I was asking God to shower blessings upon all of them while I asked for His mercy and their forgiveness. Then I prayed for five people in the present, only two of whom I actually have met, who have touched my life in my blogging and professional world, who have gone through and are going through health issues. I would even ask you readers to pray for Luis, Bill, Lois, Pete and Vincent. It places great joy in my heart to bring everyone to the Lord. Who better to trust for healing?
Today I remind myself to live in the present moment. There is still much to do in loving God and others without bringing up the past, which I can do nothing about except to place it in the hands of God’s mercy. I think moving forward in Christ is the way to become fit for the Kingdom of God.
In reading today’s Gospel from Luke 9:51-56, I can reflect on God’s grace and how it has changed me. I was much like Jesus’ disciples when I was younger but not in a positive way. Jesus and his disciples were headed for Jerusalem and they came to a Samaritan village. The Samaritan’s would not welcome Jesus. Jesus was ready to move on to another village but James and John had a different idea. So they asked Jesus … “Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?” That would have been me. My competitive nature would want to find a way to punish or exert power against them.
Today, I would walk away, pray for the people who would not accept me and my friends and move on. There is no need to argue. If you do not like me, so be it. Let the will of God be done and that is to love even when we are not being loved. I think of Jesus and what He did for me and for all of us on the road to Calvary. He was beaten and scourged, spit upon, called names, falsely accused and pretty much treated inhumanely. What do you think we would have done in that situation with the power of God in us? Do you think we might have come down from the cross and smacked a few people around or even call down fire from heaven to consume our enemies?
Jesus chose to suffer and die for me. So, if I am faced with being treated wrongly, I need to walk away and move on. Truthfully, God has graced me with positive change. My competitive juices still sometimes flow but God has granted me strength to control my passions in ways I could never do before. I think the simple act of moving on can bring great glory to God and be a witness to the example of the power of prayer.
The first reading today from the first chapter of Job is an eye-opener. If one thinks they have problems in life, please read. God is pleased with Job, an upright and faithful servant of God. Satan tells God that Job is faithful only because he and his family have been protected by God and the works of his hands have been blessed. God tells Satan that all Job has is now in Satan’s power but that Satan cannot lay a hand on Job.
So here is a synopsis of what happened in one day. Job was told that all of his oxen and asses were taken and all the herdsmen were killed. Next, lightning struck his sheep and shepherds and consumed them. Then, his camels were seized and those tending them were all killed. Lastly, his sons and daughters were having dinner together and a strong wind collapsed the house and they were all killed.
Honestly, how much could one person take? How did Job respond to all the evil and tragedy brought on by Satan? The scripture says … Then Job began to tear his cloak and cut off his hair. He cast himself prostrate upon the ground. But as Job lay prostrate on the ground, he says something that reveals the type of love, faith, hope and fear of the Lord that I want. You see, I do not think I could handle what happened to Job. Satan ruined his life here on earth. Satan took away all the things of the world but he could not take Job’s soul. Job says … “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back again. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!”
It is much easier to praise the Lord in good times. I want to praise Him in good times and in difficult times as my faith and trust must be in the Lord. I know that I am very weak but I know that it is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me. Praise God! Blessed be the name of the Lord! Amen.
The words of Jesus that caught my attention in today’s short Gospel from Luke 9:43-45 were … “Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” We know what Jesus is talking about but his disciples did not understand. The Gospel says that the meaning was hidden from them so that they would not understand it and they were afraid to ask Him about it.
I wonder how many times Jesus has said to me, “pay attention to what I am telling you?” Too often, I am sure, but it is different now for me. I am older, hopefully wiser by the grace of God and I really want to listen and understand. I was thinking today how uneducated I am in the ways of the world. I work at a college and I am around some of the most brilliant people in the world. I read many blogs and what is shared is so often far above my understanding that I can only smile and shake my head. The bloggers I follow are very smart, well read and I am amazed at the knowledge and insights they share. I have learned very much from them. Thanks be to God.
What I have come to know about myself is that I have become a better listener of my Lord. I have grown to understand much that Jesus wills to teach me. One of the best things I have learned is that I cannot go wrong if I do everything out of love and glory to God. Living out the commandment to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength along with loving my neighbor trumps all knowledge. It is no longer about me. It is all about others and giving God the glory.
I believe God puts people in my life and me in the lives of others to help us follow the narrow road to Him. We will share our gifts, our differences and our experiences. We will help each other and we will hurt each other. We will love and be loved. God permits it all. This is one great way, I believe, we “pay attention” to what Jesus is telling us.
Prayer: Speak Lord, your servant is listening and paying attention. Amen.
When I started high school in 1965, I had no real knowledge of God or the Bible. I was into music as a musician and would entertain, when possible, top 40 songs. The Byrds came out with a song called Turn, Turn, Turn, written by Pete Seeger, and based on today’s first reading from Ecclesiastes 3:1-11. I really liked the song, sang and played it and had no clue it had biblical tones.
As I was reading this today, there is so much wisdom and truth to these words of scripture. There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every thing under the heavens … a time to …
Be born – To die
Plant – Uproot the plant
Kill – Heal
Tear down – Build
Weep – Laugh
Mourn – Dance
Scatter stones – Gather them
Embrace – Be far from embraces
Seek – Lose
Keep – Cast away
Rend – Sew
Silent – Speak
Love – Hate
Of War – Of Peace
I must keep in mind that everything is in God’s time and not my own to be at peace. I have experienced all of the above including death as in Baptism, I died to myself and became a new creation. Ecclesiastes concludes with … “What advantage has the worker from his toil? I have considered the task that God has appointed for the sons of men to be busied about. He has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without man’s ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done.”
Lastly, we have an amazing God which reminds me of a song I enjoy playing and singing today which says our God is an “Awesome God.” Amen!
Here is what came to mind as I read Ecclesiastes 1:2-11. I should live my life trying to do the best I can to serve the Lord by loving and serving others. If I happen to do something good, I should never boast or take any credit for what I did because it was truly a grace given by God to bring glory to Him. I am on this earth for a very short time. When I am gone, I will soon be forgotten. There will be more born after me, they will die and they will be forgotten.
It sounds a little depressing to speak of life in this way but only if I were to put all my treasures into this life. My life on earth is to prepare me to know, love and serve God, to know how much He loves me and to understand that He wants me to choose to spend eternity with Him according to His plan and not mine. God knows what is best for me and I have to trust Him. That is why “all things are vanity.”
When I read a scripture passage like Philippians 2:3-4 which tells me that the needs of others are more important than my own, I have a choice to either place others needs before my own if I want to follow Jesus and prepare for heaven, or ignore it and do everything for me. I have spent the majority of my life thinking of me. I am now doing the best I can to think of others first. I know that I fail miserably too often. The best part is that in knowing God and my relationship with Him, He has revealed His love and mercy to me, a very sinful man.
I think there is too much “crap” in this world and my desires for that “crap” have caused me to make some bad choices. The right choice would be to desire only want what I need to do God’s will. I do not need vanity.