Hear & Observe The Word Of God

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Here is today’s short Gospel from Luke 11:27-28While Jesus was speaking, a woman from the crowd called out and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” He replied, “Rather, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

I leave no doubt as a blogger that I desire daily to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and everyone the Lord places in my life. I also love the Blessed Virgin Mary. I have read comments of some who like to twist this passage to say that Jesus “put down” His Mother with this statement. I will respond with “nonsense!” Jesus, of all people, would follow the commandment to honor your mother and father. Lastly, Mary responded to the Angel Gabriel, “let it be done to me according to your Word” and became the Mother of God. I think that is probably the greatest example of observing the Word of God.

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Mike Burke; Saturday, October 8, 2016
Hear & Observe The Word Of God

Keeping My Mouth Shut

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I will preface this as it is very late, just past the midnight hour and I am fighting to stay awake and the reality that my 4:30am alarm is going to be ringing soon. Reading and writing a daily scripture reflection has become important for my own growth daily. I do not want to do it just because I have to do it. That being said, I am struggling tonight so here is my best effort, God willing.

I was fascinated with today’s first reading from Job 38:1 – 40:5. Job was a good man who loved the Lord. God permitted Satan to test Job and as I have written about recently, Job went through more than I think any of us could possibly handle.

God addresses Job with many questions, which would put Job and all of us in our place if we are filled with pride. It was the last question and answer that fascinated me. The Lord said to Job … Tell me, if you know all: Which is the way to the dwelling place of light, and where is the abode of darkness?” And now, a message to me from the mouth of Job … “Behold, I am of little account; what can I answer you? I put my hand over my mouth. Though I have spoken once, I will not do so again; though twice, I will do so no more.”

I am nobody. I do much better when I shut my mouth, listen more, pray and love. My opinion does not need to be known unless it is truly God speaking through me. Pride is a terrible sin and when I think my plan is going to work without consulting and discerning the Lord’s will in the Holy Spirit, I act a fool. Today, I seek to follow the words of Job and put my hand over my mouth. Lord help me. Your will be done.

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Mike Burke; Friday, September 30, 2016
Keeping My Mouth Shut

Angels of God

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Today in the Catholic Church, the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, archangels, is celebrated. The three readings today from Revelation 12:7-12, Psalm 138:1-5 and the Gospel of John 1:47-51, talk about Angels. On a personal note, I ask my Guardian Angel every day to “Light, Guard, Rule and Guide” me on the path to Jesus. Here is what the fore mentioned scripture passages say.

Revelation

War broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon.

The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.

The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it. 

Psalm 138

I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth; in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;

I will worship at your holy temple and give thanks to your name.

Gospel of John

And he said to him, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

May God, in His infinite mercy, send His Angels to protect us from all evil as He did on that glorious day when Satan and his band of misfit angels were banned from Heaven. Amen.

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Mike Burke; Thursday, September 29, 2016
Angels of God

Fit For The Kingdom Of God

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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.

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Mike Burke; Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Fit For The Kingdom Of God

Move On

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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.

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Mike Burke; Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Move On

Give and Take

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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.

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Mike Burke; Monday, September 26, 2016
Give and Take

Rich Man, Poor Man, LOVE

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How long will the merciful God I believe in be patient with us? When will we listen to the constant warnings God has given us? When will we understand the Parables of Jesus and take heed to His message? The Gospel today from Luke 16:19-31 is another wake-up call. When will we as children of God wake up?

Lazarus is a very poor man. He was ignored by a very rich man. They both died and went to the netherworld. The father of all nations, Abraham was resting comfortably with Lazarus in his bosom. The rich man was far off, separated by a great chasm, suffering torment in flames. He wanted help from Lazarus to cool his tongue. When they were both alive on earth, Lazarus needed help also but the rich man was too busy, concerned about himself, rather than being concerned with a poor, low-life like Lazarus. Abraham tells the rich man that no help can come any longer because the chasm will not allow either side to crossover. That in itself is a great warning for us.

How do I read this? First of all, we have major problems all over the world. No matter where we live, there are problems. If we will not listen to God, we are going to end up like the rich man. If we keep telling God we know best and we do not need Him or even that we do not believe in Him, He is going to love us by letting us choose our own demise. I read about people blaming God. How can a loving God let all this evil happen? I would like to ask how people who are loved by God, keep choosing to sin against Him? The blame lies fully with us. Our loving Father sent His Son Jesus to save us. His Son died for us so that we can live. He has told us what to do. The answer is simple yet we do not, as children of God, do what God has commanded us. Love God and love each other. LOVE is the answer.

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Mike Burke; Sunday, September 25, 2016
Rich Man, Poor Man, LOVE

Pay Attention

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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.

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Mike Burke; Saturday, September 24, 2016
Pay Attention

Turn, Turn, Turn

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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!

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Mike Burke; Friday, September 23, 2016
Turn, Turn, Turn

Vanity of Vanities

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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.

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Mike Burke; Thursday, September 22, 2016
Vanity of Vanities