Elijah’s Whisper – My Whisper

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Elijah’s Whisper – My Whisper

Bubbles2 Then the LORD said (to Elijah), “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD; the LORD will be passing by.”  A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the LORD – but the LORD was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake – but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire – but the LORD was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.  When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?” 1 Kings 19:11-13

Why are YOU here, beloved?

Was it to discover magnificent colors? Was it to find colorful music or awesome videos? Was it just curiosity? Was it accidental? Were you really looking for God, for Hope, for true LOVE somewhere in this menagerie we call the web?

silenceOr were you just hiding in a cave, waiting on the Lord to Whisper in your ear – a Word – LIFE! Life, it’s in You! And YOU are beautiful in the Eyes of God, no matter what the world may say or think.

You are Loved!!

Every day the Lord whispers in our ears – Words of HOPE, Words of LOVE, and maybe not even words – just His JOY in our hearts.

Let’s follow the Scriptures of our daily Mass and see if we can catch those Words – simple but beautiful – Whispers to the Wind . . .

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08-22-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 22, 2017
(Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Jesus said to his disciples,“everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.”  Mt_19:23-30

What a glorious day it was in the Lord (8-21-17)!  We were able to witness a (possibly once in a lifetime), total eclipse of the sun.  With all the myriad of events that could have prevented that viewing, including bad weather, we were able to see it clearly here in Columbia, MO, while those living just 20 miles away were overcast and rainy.  Oh how can we give up the beauty of God’s creation when He keeps showering it down upon us.  Blessed be God.  Blessings and thanksgiving for our Blessed Mother Mary and her son, our Lord, Jesus.  And blessed be YOU, beloved, just for being here with me!

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08-21-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 21, 2017
(St. Pius X, Pope)
Jesus answered the rich man, “If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” . . .  The young man said to him, “All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me.”  Mt_19:16-22

Something is tugging at our heart strings, beloved.  And it prompts several questions.  The first is, “Is it worth it?  Is it permanently worth it?”  Or does it just give us temporary happiness.  A new car gets old.  A winning baseball team eventually loses.  Lots of money disappears.  Even family leaves the nest and may rarely come back to visit.

What’s tugging at our heart strings?  And when all of those tugs fall apart, what are we looking for next?  Will it just be another temporary fix?  Like a drug that has us addicted. Or will we be asking the Creator of Life, like the young wealthy man, “How do I get to heaven?”  “Where is the true Permanent fix?”

Jesus gives the man that Permanent fix.  Number one is to follow the basic commandments to love God and neighbor.  Then number two is to give your life over to God.  Let go of all of those other heart tugs.  And some of them are much harder to let go of than others.  For this young man it was his possessions.  Which in reality were not really his possessions, but they possessed him!

Sometimes, beloved, we may be cruising along in life, keeping the commandments, going to church, loving everyone and yet, something is still tugging on our hearts that we may not even realize.  And it’s keeping us from that true eternal relationship with God.

Search it out.  Dig as deep as you can and find it.  Then pray for the strength of the Holy Spirit to help you root it out.  And it doesn’t mean we have to sell our loved ones out to the poor.  We just make sure God is in His proper place first.  We follow Jesus and all the rest will be right where they are supposed to be!!

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And a happy eclipse day tc all!

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08-20-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 20, 2017
(20th Sunday Ordinary Time A)
Thus says the LORD: . . . The foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, ministering to him, loving the name of the LORD, and becoming his servants—all who keep the sabbath free from profanation and hold to my covenant, them I will bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer;  Is_56:1,6-7

ALL are welcome!

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08-19-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 19, 2017
(St. John Eudes, Priest)
Joshua said to the Israelites, “If it does not please you to serve the LORD, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your fathers served beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are dwelling.  As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”  Jos_24:14-29

Are we so wrapped up in the gods of the world, beloved, that we have forgotten all that our Lord has done for us?  If it so be our will, though our God will always love us, so we have chosen.

But . . .

Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the Kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”  Mt_19:13-15

. . But, never ever stop the children!  For these have found, these know the path to the Kingdom!

As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord!

And we pray for the souls of those who have chosen otherwise!

God never stops loving us all!

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08-18-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 18, 2017
Some Pharisees approached Jesus, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?”  He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’  So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.”  Mt_19:3-12

Within the house, that the Lord has graced my family and me with the pleasure of living in for the past 20-years, there’s a large, brick fireplace in our living room.  Our house is basically a ranch with, what they call a ‘walk out basement.’  And this fireplace is on the main, or upper floor.

And even though we bought the house new, it was designed and built before we ever set eyes on it.  So I can’t take credit for designing that fireplace, but our family has certainly enjoyed its presence over the years.

Now if you’ve ever seen pictures of tornado ravaged neighborhoods or bombed out towns in WWII, what you often see remaining of the houses are just their fireplaces, standing there like monuments from the ground to the sky in a barren wasteland of rubble.

You see, there is an aspect of permanency in fireplaces that  makes them nearly indestructible, at least to fire, and wind, and sometimes, even bombs.  So for example, you could imagine how our fireplace, being on the second floor, would have to have a huge foundation running from it, all the way down into the ground, in order to hold all that weight.

And you can also imagine that it took quite a lot of work by the builder to set it in place.

And so we set the stage for today’s readings.

You see, just like the permanency of our fireplace, today we see the permanency of God’s love and mercy, both through His covenant with the Israelites, and with us, in the covenant of Holy Matrimony.

And neither covenant came free or easy.

In order for God to deliver the Israelites, He not only had to perform great and mighty deeds, like leading them across huge bodies of water, through barren deserts and against mighty armies, but He also had to battle against their own attitudes of desperation, hopelessness, independence and rebellion because of their lack of faith.

Yet, in His unshakable Mercy, God had built a Foundation for the Jews that’s endured all the way up to the present time, over 4000-years.

You see, there is a permanency in the relationship between God and the Israelites that is unbreakable.  And so it should be with us as well.

Our exercise in that permanency comes through the example of the marriage covenant.  So when the Pharisees taunted Jesus with the question of divorce,  His simple answer rested upon the same Foundation that God had built in His relationship with them.

Jesus said, “What God has joined together, man must not separate.”

And of course, then comes the maintenance part of that covenant relationship between husband, wife and God.  And that’s – the not free or easy part!

Just like the Israelites, we have to battle with our own attitudes of desperation, hopelessness, independence, rebellion and lack of faith in God, who binds us all together.  We have to battle an enemy who wants nothing less than to rip us apart, eat us up and spit us out into the burning fires of hell.

You see, if I got tired of my fireplace and tried to rip it out, I’d probably find that most of my house would just crumble down with it in the rubble.

And if I instead decided to hide it behind a new wall, I’d also always know that it still exists there, unseen, but always present.

And so it is with Marriage.  Maybe we’ve suffered the devastation of a divorce.  Maybe we’ve endured the struggle of maintaining a difficult marriage.  Or maybe we’ve just been blissfully married for eons.  Whatever our own personal experience with marriage is or was, if we keep our faith in God, God will always see us through, because His love for us is permanent and eternal.  And that’s what we must strive for in our marriage!

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08-17-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 17, 2017
Peter approached Jesus and asked him, “Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him?  As many as seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times. Mt_18:21–19:1

Anger on the road?  Disappointments at work?  Disobedient kids?  Nothing going right and everyone is against us, beloved???  How do we forgive even once, let alone 77-times?

Well, imagine what would happen if we just tried once!  Not to jam on that brake when the idiot, 3-inches from our tail, really deserves it.  Not to tell that little jerk who is supposed to be our boss, our support system, what we actually think of him.  Not to grab that little brat by the collar and read the 10-Commandments off to her.

Just imagine the PEACE we can give ourselves by forgiveness!  It’s NOT easy!  But that’s why we have our God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, to pray to for strength.  To lift us back up above those e-jots and not place ourselves at their level.  Jesus WILL be there for us.  The Holy Spirit will give us the words and show us the right actions to take.

Trust in Him, beloved, and FORGIVE!

And remember they’re simply
errant Children of God,
just like us!

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08-16-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 16, 2017
(St. Stephen of Hungary)
Jesus said to his disciples: “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone.”  Mt 18:15-20

He didn’t say Twitter it.  He didn’t say Facebook it.  He didn’t say Pinterest it or gossip it in your prayer or knitting groups.  We have two choices, beloved.  We can either swallow it and forget it or we can approach the one who upset us and settle it!  Jesus gave some other options if that doesn’t work.  But boy it seems we’ve slipped on courtesy and manners all the way up the line lately.  Maybe it’s time for more people to get back to the Book (the Bible) on how to live, RIGHT – the Instruction Book for life!

Jesus continued, “if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” ibid

That being said, we know that we don’t have to do it on our own.  And that doesn’t mean just getting your buddy and agreeing to knock your enemy off.  It means “gathered together in the Name of Jesus.”  What would Jesus do?  When we are gathered in His Name, He will let us know.  And when our request is in line with the will of God our Father – His will be done!

That’s consoling, beloved.
That’s living in His Kingdom!
Wouldn’t it be nice if that’s where we could ALL be!

Let’s make it so!

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08-15-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 15, 2017
(The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
In John’s vision: A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. . . .   She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod.  Her child was caught up to God and his throne.  The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God.  Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have salvation and power come, and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Anointed One.”   Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab

Link to Video on the life of Mary Our Mother 

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Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary
[The Litany of Loreto]

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the World,
have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God,
have mercy on us.

Holy Mary,
pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
pray for us.
Holy Virgin of Virgins,
pray for us.
Mother of Christ,
pray for us.
Mother of Divine Grace,
pray for us.

Mother most Pure,
pray for us.
Mother most Chaste,
pray for us.
Mother Inviolate,
pray for us.
Mother Undefiled,
pray for us.
Mother most Amiable,
pray for us.

Mother most Admirable,
pray for us.
Mother of good Counsel,
pray for us.
Mother of our Creator,
pray for us.
Mother of our Savior,
pray for us.

Virgin most Prudent,
pray for us.
Virgin most Venerable,
pray for us.
Virgin most Renowned,
pray for us.
Virgin most Powerful,
pray for us.
Virgin most Merciful,
pray for us.
Virgin most Faithful,
pray for us.

Mirror of Justice,
pray for us.
Seat of Wisdom,
pray for us.
Cause of our Joy,
pray for us.
Spiritual Vessel,
pray for us.
Vessel of Honor,
pray for us.
Singular Vessel of Devotion,
pray for us.

Mystical Rose,
pray for us.
Tower of David,
pray for us.
Tower of Ivory,
pray for us.
House of Gold,
pray for us.
Ark of the Covenant,
pray for us.

Gate of Heaven,
pray for us.
Morning Star,
pray for us.
Health of the Sick,
pray for us.
Refuge of Sinners,
pray for us.
Comforter of the Afflicted,
pray for us.
Help of Christians,
pray for us.

Queen of Angels,
pray for us.
Queen of Patriarchs,
pray for us.
Queen of Prophets,
pray for us.
Queen of Apostles,
pray for us.
Queen of Martyrs,
pray for us.

Queen of Confessors,
pray for us.
Queen of Virgins,
pray for us.
Queen of all Saints,
pray for us.
Queen conceived without Original Sin,
pray for us.
Queen assumed into Heaven,
pray for us.

Queen of the most Holy Rosary,
pray for us.
Queen of the Family,
pray for us.
Queen of Peace,
pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
spare us, O Lord!.
Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
graciously hear us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, Who take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

Grant, we beg Thee, O Lord God, that we Thy servants, may enjoy lasting health of mind and body, and by the glorious intercession of the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, be delivered from present sorrow and enter into the joy of eternal happiness.

Through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

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08-14-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 14, 2017
(St. Maximilian Kolbe, Priest and Martyr)
The Temple tax collectors were challenging Peter about whether or not Jesus paid the tax.  Jesus told Peter to “go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up.  Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.”   Mt_17:22-27

Jesus will keep us afloat, beloved!  Whether its walking on water, believing in His resurrection or paying those taxes.  But just to prove how trivial those tax payments should be relative to the more important things, like living His Kingdom, like eternal life, Jesus showed his disciples that payment could be found in even the most unlikely of places.  With faith in Him.  With creative finances.  With lives dedicated to the Love of God and the Love of neighbor, we WILL be provided for, in even the most dire of circumstances!

Trust in Jesus!

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08-13-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 13, 2017
(19th Sunday Ordinary Time A)
Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus.  But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught Peter, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” After they got into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, “Truly, you are the Son of God.”  Mt_14:22-33

Sometimes, beloved, Jesus calls us also to step out of our boat of safety and comfort to do something that may seem impossible: walking on water, speaking with a stranger, speaking to an audience, defending God’s Truth, praying in public.

When the wind seems to be blowing against us, all we need do is remember that Jesus is there to calm the storm.  But we must have the faith to believe in Him and ask for His help.  And we have to take that “step of faith,” to take that chance. Pray, beloved, that when the opportunity shows itself, we will have the faith to act!

Jesus will always be there to keep us up, or save us!

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08-12-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 12, 2017
(St. Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious)
Moses said to the people: “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone!  Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.  Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today. Drill them into your children. Speak of them at home and abroad, whether you are busy or at rest.  Bind them at your wrist as a sign and let them be as a pendant on your forehead.  Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.  Dt_6:4-13

That’s a lot of Love, beloved!
And THAT’s our Creator, Father, Spirit and life!

How can we not want our most beloved to Love Him as well!!!

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08-11-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 11, 2017
(St. Clare of Assisi, Virgin)
Moses said to the Israelites, “This is why you must now know, and fix in your heart, that the LORD is God in the heavens above and on earth below, and that there is no other.  You must keep his statutes and commandments which I enjoin on you today, that you and your children after you may prosper, and that you may have long life on the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you forever.” Dt_4:32-40

Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.”  Mt_16:24-28

Denial, belief, obedience!  Is this “LIFE” worth taking up these crosses?  St. Clare believed it was, as did Moses and St. Francis and many, many others long after them.  Life eternal!  Sounds so much weaker than the unimaginable Kingdom that Jesus promises each of us who believes!  Are you willing, beloved, to take up that cross, to risk, to offer it all for something so much better?  Not this life of suffering.  Not this life of competition, hatred and persecution.  Life – of love and compassion and understanding and agreement and peace and light and communion.  Life with God forever!  This is the promise!  No more sin, no more guilt and hurt.

LIFE!

Jesus says, “Come!”

St. Clare of Assisi

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08-10-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 10, 2017
(St. Lawrence, Deacon and Martyr)
Brothers and sisters:  Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.   2_Cor_9:6-10

Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.
Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.   Jn_12:24-26

Oh, how opposite are the ways of the Lord from the ways of the world.  Instead of “gimme, gimme,” it’s “here, here!”  Instead of “2 for me and 1 for you,” it’s “3 for you and I’m ok!”  Instead of “Hey, that’s not fair,” it’s “How else can I help you!”  By my dying to self, I’m gaining something more precious than anything this world could possibly give me.  And I’d like nothing more than for you to have the same!

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08-09-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 9, 2017
(St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross,Virgin and Martyr, [Edith Stein] )
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: “How long will this wicked assembly grumble against me? I have heard the grumblings of the children of Israel against me. Tell them: By my life, says the LORD, I will do to you just what I have heard you say.  Here in the desert shall your dead bodies fall. Forty days you spent in scouting the land; forty years shall you suffer for your crimes: one year for each day.”   Nm_13:1-2,25–14:1,26a-29a,34-35

But the woman came and did him (Jesus) homage, saying, “Lord, help me.”  He said in reply, “It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”  She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.”   Mt_15:21-28

If you ever wondered why the Israelites wandered around in the desert for 40-years after they left Egypt, instead of heading directly for that “Promised Land”, today we heard the answer.

Because they lost faith in the God who freed them from slavery in Egypt;
because they lost faith in the God who fed them in the desert, who gave them warmth and light in the cold dark nights with a column of fire and shade from the blazing sun by day with a column of cloud;
because they lost faith in the God who brought them water from a rock and quail from the sky;
because they forgot all of those supernatural blessings showered upon them by God, and imagined that they alone had to conquer those inhabitants of this land that was “overflowing with milk and honey;”
because they lost faith in God, God blocked their entrance into  that Paradise and granted them instead, their greatest fear: to die in the desert wilderness.

And the 40-years was the time it took to cleanse away a rebellious generation and grow a new crop of faithful Israelites.

It’s funny, because it all reminds me of two ancient stories.

The first was a fable about a boy who constantly cried wolf when a wolf was nowhere to be seen.  Until finally his rescuer gave up on him and his prophesy of doom was fulfilled, when the wolf actually ate him . . .

The moral being, that if we keep our focus on all of our dislikes and fears, as the Israelites did with their constant grumbling, and not on our hopes and our dreams, whatever our focus is on – is what we WILL eventually get.

The second story was the legend about a town that was terrorized by a wolf who would come at night and eat their children.  When their plight came to the attention of a wise and compassionate friar, by the name of Francis, Francis consoled the townsfolk and then sought out and befriended the wolf, who later became the town’s hero – after they provided his need for food, instead of his having to eat the children to keep himself alive.

You see, when we keep our focus on all the negatives in life, we will get exactly what we focus on.

But when we keep our focus on God, God will provide everything we need, including the answers to even our hardest dilemmas.

In our Gospel today, the non-Jewish, Canaanite woman was one of those people who truly understood Jesus and focused on the hope instead of despair.

She knew that Jesus had the power to heal her daughter.

She also knew that she was totally out-of-place in asking Jesus to help her, as a foreigner, just like the (non-Jewish) centurion who asked Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant. (Mt_8:5-13)

And yet both of them were humble enough to accept their lowly position relative to Jesus.  And both of them had Faith enough to go way out of their way to seek His help.

When our faith is strong enough to go out of our way to seek God’s help, God will reach out to offer it.  And that help may come in ways we never even thought of.  All we need do is keep our focus on God, with fearless persistence, and trust in Jesus.

And what we’ll find is that His love for us is so absolutely boundless that, as St. Paul confessed, “We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.” (Ph_4:13 paraphrase)

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08-08-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 8, 2017
(St. Dominic, Priest)
Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses . . . They complained, “Is it through Moses alone that the LORD speaks?  Does he not speak through us also?”  Nm_12:1-13

Sometimes, beloved, Faith requires humility.  This Moses was just Miriam’s little brother.  Besides, wasn’t it her who saw to it that Moses was saved from Pharaoh’s edict of death!  So she felt that she had every right to be just as important as Moses.  And Aaron followed suit.  So they moaned and groaned and God heard their egos shouting up to heaven.  Sometimes faith requires humility! And when that virtue is missing, we just may be in for a fall!

Jesus, walking on the sea, spoke out to his petrified disciples in the wave-tossed boat, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”  He said, “Come”  Mt_14:22-36

Sometimes Faith requires obedience and courage.  Jesus’ invitation didn’t result in a “Yeah, but . . .”  Peter stepped right out of that boat and began walking on the water.  Impossible?  Unnatural?  Sometimes obedience requires faith too!  Peter put his life on the line trusting, in faith, that what Jesus asked would be possible.  Jesus showed Peter that his faith must be persistent as well.  If we take our focus off the goal and allow all those other temptations and diversions to interrupt us, we may also fall, just like the one who was missing their humility, just like Peter a little later in the story!

Once they reached land and the people of the area heard that it was Jesus, they brought to him all those who were sick and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak, and as many as touched it were healed.  ibid

Sometimes Faith just requires belief.  Beyond kissing that lottery ticket; Beyond rubbing your jade Buddha’s head;  Beyond burying St. Joseph’s statue upside down in the dirt; Faith is TRUE belief in God, belief in Jesus.  Jesus has the power to heal, both physically and spiritually.  And when we truly believe that, it’s absolutely amazing what He can do for us as well.

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08-07-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 7, 2017
(St. Sixtus and companions, Pope and Martyrs)
Moses said to the LORD, “I cannot carry all this people by myself, for they are too heavy for me.”  Nm_11:4b-15

We can not rely upon ourselves for the salvation of humanity, beloved.  Only in the Lord is salvation.  And it’s up to each individual to make that decision to believe or not.  All we can do is lead them to Him.

When it was evening, the disciples approached him (Jesus) and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already late; dismiss the crowds so that they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” He said to them, “There is no need for them to go away; give them some food yourselves.”  Mt_14:13-21

And feed them they did, but only with the help of Jesus.

When we get to feeling like we just can’t carry that burden any longer, beloved, then turn to the Lord and He will feed us.  He will strengthen us.  And He will guide us to complete all that is asked of us, even what we think may be impossible.  Faith!  All it takes is Faith!

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08-06-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 6, 2017
(The Transfiguration of the Lord)
. . . behold, a bright cloud cast a shadow over them, then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” Mt_17:1-9

The Cloud, the Voice, the Message.   There is obviously something supernatural going on here!  This is not just another guy trying to puff himself up.  This was definitive proof that Jesus IS much more than just another guy.  This is the Son of God.  The second Person of the Holy Trinity.  There is nothing false in Him.

When we hear something extraordinary, beloved, do we just ignore it?  When we see something beyond normal occurrence, do we pass it off as insignificant?  No!  We listen with undivided attention, we watch with laser-like focus.   Jesus IS worth every ounce of our attention – as much as our very lives!  God our Father commands us – LISTEN to Him!

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Today is the birthday of the second greatest love of my life (besides Jesus), my beloved wife Mary Ann.  With all my heart and soul, I give thanks to God for uniting us.  And I give thanks to Mary Ann for bearing with me all these eons!  Happy Birthday Honey!

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08-05-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 5, 2017
. . at a birthday celebration for Herod, the daughter of Herodias performed a dance before the guests and delighted Herod so much that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for.   Mt_14:1-12

We always have to be very careful of what we ask for and what we promise others, beloved.  It just may not turn out to be what we expected!

Even though Herod arrested John the Baptist, he still liked to listen to him.  You know what, he may have even been in a process of conversion.  But in a drunken stupor, enticed by a body and a dance, Herod made a promise he regretted.  A promise that not only resulted in his loss of John, but was also the end of any hope he ever had of conversion too.  “Oh what the heck!  Life goes on!  Nobody ever said it was a bed of roses!”

EXCEPT!

Well, Jesus didn’t tell us that this physical life would be a bed of roses either.  As a matter of fact He outright told us that there would be persecutions and pain and suffering.  But what He did tell us was that IF we keep on the straight and narrow.  IF we Love rather than hate.  IF we stand up rather than give up, there WILL be something more that will make it all worth it – Heaven!

Herod didn’t have that hope!  So what was another life of a meaningless loud mouth anyway!  Life goes on!  Have another drink and maybe it will all just fade into the fog!

But we know better, beloved, don’t we!  Follow Jesus.  Pray for their conversion!  Love them anyway.  And God will know where our hearts truly lie.  Let those hearts lie in His Hands, beloved,  and in His Hands they will rest, forever – along with Jesus and along with John!

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08-04-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 4, 2017
(St. John Vianney, Priest)
“The fifteenth day of this seventh month is the LORD’s feast of Booths, which shall continue for seven days. On the first day there shall be a sacred assembly, and you shall do no sort of work.  For seven days you shall offer an oblation to the LORD, and on the eighth day you shall again hold a sacred assembly and offer an oblation to the LORD.” Lv_23:1,4-11,15-16,27,34b-37

The third Book of the Jewish Pentateuch was called Leviticus,  or the Book of the Law.  It was this Book that listed all of the rules and regulations that the LORD had spelled out to give the Israelites order and justice in their lives.

And yet, it was not all do’s and don’ts.  There were also times of feasting and times of celebration.

Leviticus had designated five special Holy Days to celebrate  God’s work among the Israelites.  The first of these was the Passover, or Pesach, which commemorated the Exodus of Israel from Egyptian slavery by the Hand of God.

Pesach is where we get the word Paschal from, when we talk about the Paschal Sacrifice or the Paschal Lamb, which we use in reference to the sacrifice of Jesus for our Exodus from sin, and our Salvation.

Fifty days after the Passover, the second Special Holy Day, Shavuot, or the Feast of Weeks, which we call Pentecost, celebrates the first harvest of the Jews in thanksgiving for God’s generosity in keeping the Israelites fed.  Of course, we know in our faith, that Pentecost is also the day that Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit upon His disciples and upon all of us.

In their seventh month, the Jews celebrated their New Year or Rosh Hashanah, with the blasts of the shofar, or ram’s-horn trumpets, that jolted them from their sleep of sin.  This marked the beginning of a 10-day period of repentance in preparation for God’s judgment.

The ten-days culminated in The Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur, when the Jews would be purified from their sins.

Finally, five-days later, they celebrated the Feast of Booths or Succot, which was also called the Feast of Tabernacles.  This began a week-long celebration of rejoicing, where the Jews shared meals in little shelters, or sukkahs, made from the branches of trees, that commemorated the 40-years of dwelling in huts in the desert, after their Exodus from Egypt.

Each of the five Holy Days were kept with three promises to God: to do no work, just as on a Sabbath, to make sacrificial offerings to God and to meet in a sacred assembly.  Funny, it sounds just like a Mass, doesn’t it!

If you’re interested in learning more about our Jewish roots, there’s a website called hebrew4christians.com that’s easy to follow and has lots of other fun information too.

A good background in the old Jewish customs puts many of the words and activities that we find in the Gospels in a much better perspective.  We can understand why the Jewish leaders were so obsessed with the Sabbath rules, because in the Old Testament the very least deviation from those laws was punishable by death.

And from readings like today’s Gospel, we can grasp how it wasn’t just the Pharisees who had a hard time accepting Jesus.  Even His own neighbors and friends doubted His authenticity.

Maybe we can argue that it’s just human nature to struggle with change.  For those dedicated Jews, it was 1300-years of habit since the time of Moses.  It was no wonder the teachings of Jesus were so difficult for them.  They were immersed in a culture where noncompliance was addressed with extermination, not forgiveness, and where the “unclean” were isolated with pinched noses, and not healed with open arms.

For us more seasoned Catholics, maybe we too have become just a little too comfortable with our last 50-years of habit, after the Vatican II changes.  Or maybe we’re even still a little bitter over those changes.  But, you know what, by now, as experienced Christian witnesses, we’ve also come to learn that some things we just have to take on Faith.  And that Faith means, that even with the changes, that we may not be totally thrilled with, we still know that Jesus, that the Holy Spirit will continue to inspire and excite our youth to live His teachings and to pass them on, long after we’re gone.

Of that we can be assured!

And we praise the Lord for that assurance!

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08-03-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 3, 2017
Jesus said to the disciples:  “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.  Mt_13:47-53

Oh blessed be your Name, Lord.  We pray with all our hearts that we may be Your bucket fish!

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08-02-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 2, 2017
(St. Eusebius of Vercelli, Bishop)
As Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the commandments in his hands, he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant while he conversed with the LORD. . . .  Moses then spoke to them (the people). . . . When he finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.    Ex_34:29-35

There’s something that happens to us, beloved, when we come into a conversation with the Lord.  When we pray and listen for His guidance, for His assurance, and in His love, it changes us!  And just like Moses, we become radiant with His joy.  Have you ever seen someone who was radiant in the Joy of God?  There’s no mistaking them.  And we don’t need to veil their faces because that Joy radiates into us as well.  And we can all surely use a little joy from God!

So next time you enter your own quiet space, beloved, listen for His voice.  He’s there waiting to speak with you.

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08-01-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

August 1, 2017
(St. Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger and abounding in kindness. . . . For as the heavens are high above the earth, so surpassing is his kindness toward those who fear him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far has he put our transgressions from us.  As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.  Ps 103

This is our God, the LORD.  And we love Him, because He loved us first.  And we worship Him because knowledge of Him is so vastly far beyond our highest understanding.  And we fear Him because our eternal lives rest in His very hands.  So, within this short bodily lifespan we’ve been blessed with, we make every effort possible to follow his lead, in obedience to His commands and in compassion with one another.  This is our compassionate and respectful fear and love of our God.  We praise Him and we adore Him!

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The Franciscan Portiuncula Indulgence

From midnight August 1 to midnight August 2, you can gain the “Portinuncula” Indulgence.  “The Portiuncula indulgence is the first plenary indulgence that was ever granted in the Church. There were indeed indulgences at all times, but they were only partial, and only a partial remission of the temporal punishments could be obtained by them. But, as already remarked, he who gains the Portiuncula indulgence is freed from all temporal punishments and becomes as pure as after holy baptism.

This was also the reason why Pope Honorius was astonished when St. Francis petitioned for the confirmation of this indulgence, for such an indulgence, up to that time, had been entirely unknown. It was only after he had come to the conviction that Jesus Christ himself wished it, that he granted the petition of the saint and confirmed the indulgence”.

To obtain the Portiuncula plenary indulgence, a person must visit the Chapel of Our Lady of the Angels at Assisi, or a Franciscan sanctuary, or one’s parish church, with the intention of honoring Our Lady of the Angels. Then perform the work of reciting the Creed and Our Father and pray for the Pope’s designated intentions. You should be free, at least intentionally, of attachment to venial and mortal sin, and truly repentant. Make your sacramental confession 8 days before or after. Participate or assist at Mass and receive Holy Communion 8 days before or after.

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07-31-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 31, 2017
(St. Ignatius of Loyola, Priest)
Jesus proposed a parable to the crowds.  “The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field.  It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the ‘birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.'”   Mt_13:31-35

Somewhere in the past, beloved, someone planted a seed in our hearts.  It may have been sitting there infertile for years or it may have immediately begun growing.  But whenever it started, there developed a thirst in us to feed it.  And we fed it by going to Mass.  We fed it by reading the Bible.  We fed it in many and varied ways that brought us closer to God and closer in relationship with Jesus and one another.

THAT is the Kingdom of heaven growing within us, just like the mustard seed that Jesus spoke of today.  If you feel like the mustard bush within you is wilting or thirsty, beloved, maybe it’s time to feed it again.  Come into community with like-minded believers and watch it grow again!  And there you will find that Kingdom that your soul is so searching for!

The Kingdom of God’s love!

And then let’s see if we can plant some seeds of our own for God!

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07-30-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 30, 2017
(17th Sunday Ordinary Time, A)
Jesus said, “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.”   Mt_13:44-52

Notice, beloved, that in this case, Jesus didn’t say that the Kingdom was like the pearl.  It’s like the merchant!  We might say the merchant could be Jesus (God) Himself.  And the fine pearls that He’s searching for are us.  For those who are worth it, and it could be any or all of us, Jesus sold his whole humanity in order to buy us.  So in this case, Jesus IS the Kingdom!

Next question is: what is it that could make us “worth it” in His eyes?  Well, it begins with believing in Him.  In our baptism, either we or our parents made that choice: to believe.  Then it continues with allowing the Holy Spirit to take possession of our hearts and minds.  This again, is our free will choice.   Then we live that commandment that Jesus taught: to Love God and our neighbor! We become that pearl that is so valuable in God’s eyes, that Jesus died just for us!  And OH what a beautiful pearl that would be!

We are all God’s children, beloved!  Question is, do we understand that, and are we living like we truly are?

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07-29-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 29, 2017
(St. Martha)
Jesus said to Martha, “Your brother will rise.”  Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and anyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”   Jn_11:19-27

Do YOU believe this, beloved?

If we truly believe this, we are, as Jesus said, “not far from the Kingdom of God.”  Mk_12:34

Keep on believing!

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07-28-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 28,  2017
In those days: God delivered all these commandments:

“I, the LORD, am your God, . . .   You shall not have other gods besides me.  You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them.”

“You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. . . .”

“Remember to keep holy the sabbath day.  Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God. . . . “

“Honor your father and your mother, . . . “

“You shall not kill.”

“You shall not commit adultery.”

“You shall not steal.”

“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him.”   Ex_20:1-17

This IS the definition of
LOVE!

Love of God, Love of neighbor, the basics.

Then we can go into more of the specifics, the how to, in the Beatitudes, Mt_5:3-12.

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07-27-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 27, 2017
Jesus said to His disciples, This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’  . . . “But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.  Amen, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”   Mt_13:10-17

To hear the Word of God straight from His own mouth!  Do the parables make sense to you, beloved?  Are they clear as day or as obscure as fog at night.  God gives us the ability to understand through the Holy Spirit within us.  If we are not living right with God, maybe that’s why Jesus’ parables don’t make any sense.  Once we clear out the cobwebs of our hearts, get rid of any hatred or animosity we have toward others, and learn to love, everything that Jesus said will make perfect sense.  This was the rich soil that He was speaking about yesterday.  Don’t let the world steal His Truth from your hearts, and His Word will bear fruit many times over.  That is the Kingdom of His love!  And it’s just waiting there for you and for me!

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07-26-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 26, 2017
(Ss. Joachim and Anne)
Jesus spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow.  And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path, and birds came and ate it up. . . . But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.  Whoever has ears ought to hear.”  Mt_13:1-9

“Whoever has ears ought to hear.” 

Yesterday I had a “sick day.”  And even though I have ears, that sinus pressure gave me such a headache that I had a hard time hearing and a hard time even thinking.  So yes, if we have ears, we ought to hear.  But there are lots of things in life that can cause us not to.

Some of them we have no control over, like sicknesses, or our age, or accidents to our hearing, or all the extraneous noise around us.  And yet, sometimes, we’re just not listening, by our own choice.

Jesus gave the people and us a parable about listening and all the obstacles to hearing.  Maybe we’ve hardened our hearts by the 10-billion telemarketing calls we get each day and we don’t even answer that phone any more.

Maybe before we fully understand what was said, there are thirty people complaining about it . . . and we never really got to know if it was something good or not; like the grumbling Israelites in the desert and like our own grumbling liberal media.

It’s funny, because it didn’t take long before those same complaining Israelites were grumbling about God’s gifts of the manna and the quail.

Sometimes in order to truly hear, we have to shut out all that other noise around us and concentrate on the Truth.

Today we celebrate the memorial of the parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Tradition, as gleaned from an early Church document (that’s not in the Bible), tells us that the names of Mary’s parents were Joachim and Anne (Ann or Anna).

That writing, which is sometimes referred to as the Infancy Gospel of James, and was written around 145 AD, tells us that the parents of Mary, like Abraham and Sarah and like Elizabeth and Zechariah, also had a hard time having children.

And in their old age, Joachim and Anne also heard the Voice of God through a messenger.  A messenger who foretold the birth of someone who would be a key player in the Salvation of the world, according to God’s Plan.  And that ‘birth’ would be theirs, and that ‘someone’ would be named Mary!

And just like Elizabeth and Zechariah, Joachim and Anne were also ostracized by their neighbors for not having children.  Yet, beyond the grumbling and beyond their embarrassment, they listened, and they heard, and they believed.

And this beautiful and miraculous and Immaculately Conceived child, named Mary, even as a consecrated virgin, would become the Mother of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
and the Mother of us all.

You see, God is not yet done with us either, brothers and sisters in Christ.  For we never know when that Voice will reach OUR hearts.  It may be through Christ’s Words, right here in the Scriptures.  It may be through the Blessed Sacrament.  It may be through a neighbor or even through someone we despise.  Or it just may be in the next sunrise, or beautiful dove, or even through our own sickness and suffering.

God is not done with us.

So we keep our soil rich and we never stop listening!

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07-25-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 25, 2017
(St. James (Greater), Apostle)
Brothers and sisters: We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.  2_Cor_4:7-15

Hmmm, ever consider this body of ours, beloved, as “an earthen vessel,” like a piece of pottery, or a little ship, or an ARK, where the greatest value in us is not the vessel itself, but the “treasure” that’s held within.  And that doesn’t mean that we can abuse the vessel because it holds no value.  Because by abusing the vessel we may just as well abuse the treasure.  But it does means that the vessel itself is not the treasure.  We know that one day the vessel will degrade and fall apart.  And that may even happen prematurely through an accident or weakness in defending itself from disease, or even through the actions of others.

But recognizing that treasure within us also gives us a different viewpoint on the vessels and treasures of other people.  Some may not even realize that they have such a treasure within them.  And not realizing there IS a treasure within every one of us, they may set out to abuse others and their treasures.  So in response, we try to teach, we try to “evangelize” others about this treasure, about their treasure.  Unfortunately, not all will listen.

God, in Jesus and the Holy Spirit, is our internal treasure.  He gives us the strength of endurance, the patience of Job, the wisdom of discernment, the knowledge to grow, the compassion to love, the fear to respect and the faith to persist.  And we know that He IS our eternal life.  He is our hope and our purpose!

So when that vessel starts bothering you, beloved, too much pain, not enough attention, at a loss for meaningful work, Hang On!  Because deep within there IS a light!  The light of Jesus that gives us hope, gives us peace, gives us comfort and leads us forward.

So, keep the faith, beloved, and God WILL deliver us – for all eternity!

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07-24-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 24, 2017
Jesus said, “At the judgment, the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and there is something greater than Jonah here.  At the judgment the queen of the south will arise with this generation and condemn it, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and there is something greater than Solomon here.”  Mt_12:38-42

On Friday, Jesus told the Pharisees: “I say to you, something greater than the temple is here.” Mt_12:1-8

Sometimes, beloved, when we focus on the past.  When we focus on what we think is the most important thing in the world, we miss what is right in front of our eyes.  The Pharisees were focusing on a building and on superficial laws.  They were focusing on the heroes of the past and missing the one true God who truly had the power to save them.

Jesus straight out told them that He is greater than the building, the laws and the old heroes.  And yet, they still needed more proof (beyond what was already seen).  In the end it really didn’t matter how much proof Jesus gave them, they would still not believe.  Do we believe deep enough beloved, not to need any more signs and wonders.  Jesus is the only One who will save us.  Not money, not jobs, not relationships, not pets, not fame!  Only Jesus!  Trust in Him!

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07-23-17 Catholic Daily Mass Quotes

July 23, 2017
(16th Sunday Ordinary Time, A)
Jesus told a parable about the interaction between good and evil:  After a farmer sowed perfectly good wheat seed in his field and found weeds among the plants, his workers wanted to pull the weeds out.  But the farmer replied, “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.'”  Mt_13:24-43

Life is full of weeds, beloved.  Be it other people’s actions, illnesses, accidents, financial struggles, war, nature, attitudes, temptations . . .  And sometimes there’s not a whole lot we can do about some of those weeds.  Sometimes we just have to deal with them, carry our cross and follow Jesus (because trying to eliminate them might hurt us more than we can ever hurt them).  But in carrying that cross, Jesus will strengthen us.  He will protect us.  And the hope and the promise is, that in the end, all those weeds will be destroyed and all that will be left is GOODNESS.

In the meantime, beloved, we must be very careful not to let the world turn us into just another weed in someone else’s garden!  If we could be and remain the Good Seed that God planted, we will one day be reunited with Him in ways that we can’t even imagine.  But we do know that it will all be GOOD!

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