Whispers – Daily Mass Quotes begins after this Intro.
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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?
You are Loved!!
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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Januray 31, 2017
(St. John Bosco, Priest)
Having left the Gerasene Demoniac healed of his affliction, and the townsfolk angry at Jesus, He returned to the other side of the lake only to be surrounded by people who longed for His healing touch. Among them was the father of a 12-year old child who had apparently died. Jesus took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. Mk_5:21-43
When all the odds are against us. When there seems to be no hope left. When we can keep our faith even in those situations, Jesus will provide us with an answer. It may be a healing. It may be death and a better life ahead. It just may be a sign of our strength and our faith to others through the suffering. But whatever our course may be, beloved, if we can keep that faith in Jesus, we will be fulfilling God’s will, and in the end, we’ll find that it’s just the beginning!
Happy 31st to our awesome daughter, Christie!
January 30, 2017
St. Mark tells many stories of Jesus’ exorcism of demons from people. But the story of the Gerasene demoniac is even more intriguing than most.
Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he (the demon possessed man) ran up and prostrated himself before him, crying out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me!” Mk_5:1-20
First, it’s always interesting how the demons in the possessed people always recognize Jesus as the Son of God, and clearly understand the power that He holds over them. They reverence Him and plead mercy from Him. This is the same in all the exorcism stories.
It’s almost as if they have a sense of recognizing God, that we do not have. And having that sense, they also have a power over us that even a ‘strong man’ is ignorant to resist.
Having this blindness, we then become comfortable in our ignorance. We learn to live with the virus, the mold, the disease that’s eating us away, and we even loathe to lose it.
The Gerasene demons were comfortable with their host and the territory in which the people allowed them to inhabit. The people were comfortable with leaving the demoniac there, alone by himself, even to the extent that they allowed their swine to wander around where he lived. He might have picked off one or two of those pigs for dinner on occasion, but that was nothing compared to the thousands of pigs the swineherds owned. So they resisted anything that may have altered their “status quo,” even though the virus they were living with was slowly and insidiously eating them up.
So when it came to eliminating all of the demons themselves, the swineherds became very UNcomfortable because such an act may have cost them their whole livelihood. It may have cut into their comfort zones.
Does any of this sound familiar, brother and sister Americans? What may we be stubbornly resisting because of our comfortable acceptance of a disease that is, in reality, eating us up? Change always costs. What are we willing to give up in order to become better, to become stronger, to become the very best WE can be?
Think about it! Everything Jesus did was not always rosy to Every person! But everything Jesus did was according to God’s will. Sometimes getting better takes a little work!
Let’s work at it, beloved, together, with Jesus’ help!
January 29, 2017
(4th Sunday Ordinary Time A)
God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God. 1_Cor_1:26-31
And we will gladly be the fools of the world to gain the eternal reward of wisdom and peace and joy with God. Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs!!! Mt_5:1-12a
January 28, 2017
(St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church)
Brothers and sisters: Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not see. Heb_11:1-2,8-19
For if we saw and knew, what need would there be for faith. And if we didn’t have any hope, what need would there be for faith. And above it all, must first come Love!
The apostles, in a boat in the midst of a violent storm, were terrified and asked Jesus: “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” Mk_4:35-41
How could we possibly have any fear when the Lord is near? When our hearts are filled with Love and we know that Jesus is living in them, “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” Phil_4:13
Never forget, beloved. ALL things!
January 27, 2017
(St. Angela Merici, Virgin)
Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense. You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised. Heb_10:32-39
The salvation of the just is from the LORD; he is their refuge in time of distress. Ps_37
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth; you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom. Alleluia Verse, Mt_11:25
I always love how the various Scripture selections in the Daily Mass Readings fit so nicely together. Today we’re hearing about both the challenges of being Christian and the rewards. It may take strong perseverance, but God is here to strengthen us. It may take great endurance, but Jesus is our model of the greatest endurance. And it may take an acute listening ear and heart, just like a child. But all things are possible when we have God in our hearts.
Sunday we will hear the Beatitudes in our Gospel Reading. It’s time to prepare ourselves by becoming like little children and seeking the most minute details of what God is telling us! Seek first His Kingdom, and all these things will be added unto you . . . Mt 6:33
I’d like to share a simple example that I recently experienced of this child-like movement of faithful open hearts. Last Sunday I preached at our 5:30 Mass. The homily related to the inauguration of Jesus’ ministry as He went out to the Gentiles of Galilee for his initial preaching, healing and the calling of disciples. The Holy Spirit (whom I always give full credit to for compiling these words) concluded the short discourse with ways in which Jesus is calling us, as well. “Come, and we will change the world.” “Come, and take a flicker of My Light into your soul, so that it can shine upon others, who may still be lost in the darkness.” (Inauguration Homily link)
Well, at the exact moment I said the word “flicker,” the lights in our Blessed Sacrament Chapel, (which is behind the Ambo, so I didn’t notice it as I was speaking) began to flicker on and off. It apparently became so distracting to the congregation that eventually a hospitality minister turned the lights off. But after Mass was over, I had several people excitedly come up to me asking if I had seen it. They were just Bubbling with excitement in the sign they received from the Lord! THAT’s child-like faith! And I thought that was pretty Awesome too!!! Sometimes when our hearts and minds and ears are open, there are all kinds of signs the Lord will send us – whether they’re actually miraculous or coincidence, they move us to move that excitement to others! And that’s God’s inspiration!
Blessed be our God!
January 26, 2017
(Ss. Timothy and Titus, Bishops)
St. Paul wrote to Timothy, “I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self-control. So do not be ashamed of your testimony to our Lord,” 2_Tm_1:1-8
Yes, they may reject you, they may refute you, they may even banish you from their company. But stand firm always, beloved. God will give you the wisdom and the strength to never give up on your belief and on your courage. Jesus died – that we may offer His love to everyone. And if they refuse to accept that love, we just keep on moving on! Maybe someday they will accept it. But we helped plant that seed! That’s all Jesus wants us to do. So just keep on loving, beloved. Keep on loving!!!
January 25, 2017
(The Conversion of St. Paul, Apostle)
Saul said, “On that journey as I drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from the sky suddenly shone around me. I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ I replied, ‘Who are you, sir?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazorean whom you are persecuting.’” Acts_22:3-16
Throughout the Gospels we hear many stories of conversion . . . People who were not really sure about believing in Jesus. And after they had received their sight, regained their ability to walk, or were freed from demons by Jesus, they became believers and were ready to follow Him.
Today we hear of the, even more remarkable, conversion of St. Paul. And it brings us hope.
And yet, we might be wondering how the conversion of such a strong anti-Christian as Saul, into a zealous believer and evangelist; could bring Hope to us.
I think the answer is easily found, just by looking at our current American situation. We are living in a country that is strongly divided, almost 50/50, by people who truly hate our new president and others who are deeply seeking a change in what has happened in the past 8-years.
We are coming from a highly secularized and almost anti-Christian, political system where: marijuana has been legalized, gay people are being legally married, abortions are being paid for out of Christian taxpayers pockets, the media is openly biased and even dishonest about world events, and we are bombarded with books, movies and magazines describing illicit sex and murder.
There are many people in our country who are really happy with the freedom of immorality that the last administration allowed and promoted; and there are also many people who are quite disheartened with the direction in which we have moved.
Our new president, on the contrary, appears to want to bring morality, to bring Christ, back to America. And that’s a hopeful thing. And we will do all we can to support our country’s and our world’s move in this direction.
In the meantime, we, believers in Jesus, are called to an action that we may not always be comfortable with. We are called to discard those thoughts of animosity toward others who believe differently than us. We are called to love – EVERYONE!
Our Hope is that one day even those who persecute us, just as Saul did to the early Christians, will experience the same conversion as St. Paul. And in the process, we will not have burned any bridges to our future St. Pauls. As we remember that God Loves ALL of us, whether we know it or not!
January 24, 2017
(St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings you took no delight.
Then I said, As is written of me in the scroll,
Behold, I come to do your will, O God.
To do Your will, O God, is my desire and delight.
Keep me along Your path. Lead me in Your way!
Burn in my soul this day,
that I may seek nothing other than You.
And I will rejoice in the Glory of Your will!
January 23, 2017
Jesus said, “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” Mk_3:22-30
So they were accusing Jesus of conspiring with Satan, even though and because He was expelling demons. Just didn’t make any sense! Why would Satan conspire against himself?
Sometimes when someone or some faction is wrong, absolutely nothing they say or do makes any sense! Sound like anything we’re seeing today, beloved? Makes you just want to shake them, “Wake up!” But we can’t do that, because it won’t make any difference anyway. So we just keep on praying for them. And hopefully one day they will see the Light!
And if we decide to fight them, well, we’ll just make ourselves that house divided against itself. And that makes about as much non-sense as the non-sense we’re disagreeing with! Just keep on praying beloved, keep on praying!
January 22, 2017
(Third Sunday Ordinary Time A)
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom should I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom should I be afraid? One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek: To dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD and contemplate his temple. I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD. Ps 27
The Lord calls each and every one of us. Come! Believe in me and you will have LIFE! Life like you never knew was possible.
“Repent, and believe in Jesus, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” Mt_4:12-17
Link to today’s Homily . . . Inauguration
January 21, 2017
(St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr)
. . if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkling of a heifer’s ashes can sanctify those who are defiled so that their flesh is cleansed, how much more will the Blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to worship the living God. Heb_9:2-3,11-14
Cleansed by the Blood of the Lamb!
January 20, 2017
(St. Fabian, Pope and Martyr and St. Sebastian, Martyr)
. . . this is the covenant I will establish with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds and I will write them upon their hearts. I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall not teach, each one his fellow citizen and kin, saying, “Know the Lord,” for all shall know me, from least to greatest. Heb_8:6-13
Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted and they came to him. He appointed Twelve, whom he also named Apostles, that they might be with him and he might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons: Mk_3:13-19
It’s interesting how the events of our childhood have the ability to either cripple us for life or be used as stepping-stones for greatness.
Today’s Gospel, describing the selection of the Twelve Apostles by Jesus, brought me back to my first-decade, and the power hierarchy that existed even as youngsters, because it was always the older kids or the popular kids who picked sides for that playground football game.
And it was always the smaller ones, the studious ones, or the quiet ones who got left out.
As Jesus sat there picking Apostles, I could just see little George and Theresa jumping up and down, with their hands raised, yelling, “Pick me. Pick me!” And in the end, we never saw the Apostle George nor the Apostle Theresa.
And so life goes . . .
But then, on the other hand, maybe it was Thaddeus who was sitting there with his head buried in his hands, hoping that Jesus would NOT pick him. Because, Thaddeus didn’t want to have anything to do with driving out demons. And He wasn’t any good at preaching either.
And yet, 2000-years later, we venerate the Apostle, St. Jude or Thaddeus, as the saint of hope, the saint of impossible causes, the namesake of a world-renowned children’s hospital, and the writer of a New Testament Epistle . . .
While with equal, if not greater veneration, we recognize both St. George the dragon slayer and more St. Theresa’s than we can shake a stick at.
You see, “The Twelve” were selected as special, with respect to the Twelve Tribes of Israel. And with time, even more special were “The Three,” Peter, James and John. But by the time Jesus had finished His earthly ministry, and consecrated God’s New Covenant in the signature of His own Blood, we learn that there’s a new Selection Process.
A process that uses the word “Everyone!”
“Everyone shall know me,
from the least to the greatest.”
Every George and every Theresa. Every Edward and every Donna. Every Cy and every Claire. Every person whom the Holy Spirit prompts to jump up and down and declare “Pick me, Pick me,” WILL be picked.
And every shy one who wonders if they’ll ever be good enough, will also be selected . . .
Because there are NO restrictions on who can Love God.
And there are NO boundaries to how extreme that Love can be.
Maybe our world seems obsessed with competition; with building up pride by knocking everyone else down . . .
But Praise be to God, that’s not how Heaven works.
And Praise be to God, that every time we pass His football, that one called Love, to someone on the sidelines, to someone on the other team, to someone in the trenches of life, there’s one more soul saved for eternity, as we say,
“Thank you Jesus for picking me!”
January 19, 2017
Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them. Heb_7:25_to_8:6
“. . . in Jesus’ Name, we pray“
Maybe a silly example, but just as we can’t touch a live electrical circuit without a very good insulator between us and the wire, so we can not approach God without Jesus, our connection between the here and now and God, the Almighty, the Eternal One.
Jesus is our mediator, our savior, our life!
Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel. Alleluia Verse: 2_Tm_1:10
And thus, we have the Choice. The Choice that God our Father graced all of us with – the Choice to live in the darkness of death, or the Choice to SEE with the eyes and the light of Jesus, and to Live eternally.
The Gospel, Good News teaches us all we need, to live in the Light of Jesus.
So, Read, and Learn, and Live, beloved!
It’s our choice!
January 18, 2017
Jesus said to the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to do good on the Sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?” Mk_3:1-6
This really gets into a time and a culture that was very different from what we’re used to. And yet, on the other hand, Laws were not created to be ignored or shunned. They were created to keep order and for the benefit of the people. But when keeping those, sometimes outdated, laws begins to be detrimental to the people, all for the sake of the pride of the lawmakers, then there’s a problem with the law, or the lawmakers.
In Jesus’ time the Pharisees were so strict at enforcing those silly laws, that it far exceeded the safety and the benefit of the people, and in some cases actually harmed them. This got Jesus pretty upset. And not with the people, but with their stubborn pride and their unwillingness to listen to reason.
It’s just a good reminder for us too, beloved, to always keep an open mind in whatever it may be that we do, asking if this is good for others or just for me?
January 17, 2017
(St. Anthony, Abbot)
. . . when God wanted to give the heirs of his promise an even clearer demonstration of the immutability of his purpose, he intervened with an oath, so that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge might be strongly encouraged to hold fast to the hope that lies before us. This we have as an anchor of the soul, Heb_6:10-20
The Hope that lies before us is the anchor for our soul. And that Hope lies in our trust of God. God’s purpose is immutable and irrefutable. It is grounded in the two witnesses of His Promise and His Oath. We have the Hope for everlasting life, beloved! It’s God’s promise. And all we have to do is Believe!
Immutable – unchanging over time or unable to be changed.
Irrefutable – impossible to deny or disprove.
January 16, 2017
Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. Heb_5:1-10
The best way to relate to others is to have experienced what they are going, or have gone through. The experienced boxer can teach novices their skills. The master chef can teach others the secrets to their exquisite meals. And the reformed sinner can understand the challenges inherent with giving up enjoyable habits that may not be morally prudent, and then convey to them the sacrifices necessary to change. The priests and the saints know well these challenges. So they are good resources to seek out, when we are ready to improve our relationship with God. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are always there to guide us along the way.
Jesus makes our connection to God through his ultimate Sacrifice. All we need do is reconnect to Jesus. And our Sacrament of Reconciliation is like the recharging of our cell phones, reconnecting our souls to Him and recharging our righteousness!
January 15, 2017
(Second Sunday Ordinary Time A)
John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” Jn_1:29-34
The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. To those who accepted him, he gave power to become children of God. Alleluia verse Jn_1:14a,12a
I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth. Is_49:3,5-6
Jesus had done what He had done – according to His Father’s will. It is the most incredible gift anyone could ever give us. But now it’s our turn to accept it. Our turn to open the wrapping and learn just who this Jesus is. He is our light and our salvation. He is God’s Son and our brother. And only through Him are we, “Children of God.” It’s our choice. God is calling us to Him. Come, Jesus says. Muddle no longer in darkness and despair. Your Light has come!
January 14, 2017
The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. Heb_4:12-16
And that Word is LOVE! Sharper than a sword. Narrower than a hair. Penetrating. Living. Discerning.
Use it Beloved! And conquer the world!
January 13, 2017
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Mk_2:1-12
Is our faith, beloved, visible enough that if Jesus saw us, He would say, “Child, your sins are forgiven”? The Grace of forgiveness is always there for us, beloved. All we need do is have faith. Trust in Jesus and seek His love!
January 12, 2017
Take care, brothers and sisters, that none of you may have an evil and unfaithful heart, so as to forsake the living God. Encourage yourselves daily while it is still “today,” so that none of you may grow hardened by the deceit of sin. Heb_3:7-14
If you’ve ever heard that cliche “You’re better than that,” take it to heart beloved. For we all are! Every little thought that knocks ourselves or others down – we’re better than that. Every time we get angry at some silly misdeed of others, that they probably don’t even realize they did to upset us – we’re better than that! When we keep good thoughts in our heads and good deeds in our hands, then we’re using that ‘faithful heart’ that God gave us. We are His children and THAT’s something we should never forget! May He bless you today and always!
January 11, 2017
Since the children share in blood and Flesh, Jesus likewise shared in them, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the Devil, and free those who through fear of death had been subject to slavery all their life. Heb_2:14-18
This is one of those perfect Scriptures to study through Lectio Divina. Because the more we read it and reflect on this one sentence, the more we come to know who Jesus is and who we are. And in learning who we are and what Jesus has come to offer us, the less we will live in slavery to anything or anyone, especially death and fear; and the more we will live in the Freedom of Christ and the Kingdom that He came to offer us!
We might just start with thinking about what death really is and how it has led our entire lives into slavery!
And then remember that Jesus has conquered that slippery, slimy entity and there is no more need to fear death because Jesus LIVES and so will we!
(taken from Wikipedia reference)
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Link to Homily for today:
January 9, 2017
(The Baptism of the Lord)
Thus says the LORD: Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, upon whom I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations, not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street. A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench, until he establishes justice on the earth; Is_42:1-4,6-7
This is not the warrior who conquers by killing everyone who does not follow Him. This is not the warrior who leaves widows homeless and orphans without nurture. This is Jesus, upon whom the Spirit of the LORD rests. And that Spirit is a Spirit of love, not hatred. He/She’s a Spirit of compassion and forgiveness. She’s a Spirit of Wisdom. And Jesus invites us to Come. Join with Him as One with the Spirit and learn the language of His LOVE!
Within Him there is LIFE!
January 8, 2017
(Epiphany of the Lord)
St. Paul wrote: “. . . that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.“ Eph_3:2-3a,5-6
That means that even though Jesus was Jewish and fulfilled all the Jewish prophesies about the coming of a Messiah or Savior for the Jews, He also came to unite ALL peoples as One with Him in offering to us – eternal salvation. And THAT’s Good News!
Today we celebrate this “Epiphany,” this revelation, as the three, Gentile, magi come to see the new-born King, Jesus!
Jesus IS for ALL!
And He invites us all to COME, and join Him!
January 7, 2017
(St. Raymond of Penafort, Priest)
Beloved: We have this confidence in God, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in regard to whatever we ask, we know that what we have asked him for is ours. 1_Jn_5:14-21
According to His will! Never forget that part beloved.
. . the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” Jn_2:1-11
Or . . . Sometimes, it’s His Mother’s will!
And of course, we know the end of the story. Jesus had the servers fill the containers with water and upon serving it, the water had become wine! Thus, the Mother’s will was fulfilled!
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee
and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him. ibid
Well, maybe Jesus wasn’t quite sure that it was His time yet. And a gentle nudge by his Mother got the ball rolling. John calls this Jesus’ first sign. It was a sign of revelation! Not the jumping up and down “look at me” kind of revelation. But a message that was clear to His disciples. This truly is someone to be reckoned with! So stay tuned!
January 6, 2017
Beloved: Who indeed is the victor over the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
This is the one who came through water and Blood, Jesus Christ, not by water alone, but by water and Blood. The Spirit is the one who testifies, and the Spirit is truth. So there are three that testify, the Spirit, the water, and the Blood, and the three are of one accord.
And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life. 1_Jn_5:5-13
John doesn’t beat around the bush. Either you do or you don’t! And it’s our choice. If we were starving and were given the choice of a juicy steak or a hand-full of dirt, which would we choose? If we were given the choice of a white sand beach or blazing desert, which would we choose? Seems to be some pretty easy choices. Life or NO life? Sounds even easier.
But you know what? There are still some people who will choose the dirt the desert and the death! And it’s their choice!
God has given us the option, and it’s as clear as
Life and death!
Choose Life, beloved!
There are too many people who would truly miss you, both now and for eternity!
January 5, 2017
(St. John Neumann, Bishop)
Beloved: This is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another, unlike Cain who belonged to the Evil One and slaughtered his brother. Why did he slaughter him? Because his own works were evil, and those of his brother righteous. Do not be amazed, then, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love our brothers. 1_Jn_3:11-21
The passageway from death to life
is paved with the blood of the Martyrs . . .
shouting up to heaven:
Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let us go out in the field.” When they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him. Then the LORD asked Cain, Where is your brother Abel? He answered, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” God then said: What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground! Gn_4:8-10
January 4, 2017
(St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious)
Children, let no one deceive you. The person who acts in righteousness is righteous, just as he is righteous. Whoever sins belongs to the Devil, because the Devil has sinned from the beginning. 1_Jn_3:7-10
John was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God.” The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus. Jn_1:35-42
There are several interesting observations in today’s readings, as we continue hearing from John’s Gospel and his First Letter.
The first thing we notice, is – all that talk about sin in our first reading. And if we were listening closely, we may have noticed how John said, “Whoever sins belongs to the Devil.” And then he continues, saying that, “No one who is begotten by God commits sin.”
Those are some pretty disheartening statements. Especially when we realize that, in one way or another, we’ve all sinned, and unfortunately, we continue to do so.
And yet, if we think back to just a week ago, St. John said, a little earlier in this same letter, that “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
But, that sounds a little contradictory.
So maybe we first need to find out, just who John is writing to.
You see, while John was away from some of the Churches he helped to establish, the message that he taught was beginning to become a little garbled. There were people who started a heresy called Docetism – that professed that Jesus was fully divine but not human. And then there was another heresy called Gnosticism that professed that Christ was just a stepping-stone to higher Knowledge of God.
So what we find is that all of John’s talk about sin was done to try to keep the faithful believers on the right track.
John said earlier in his letter, that “If we acknowledge our sins, Jesus is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.”
The Scripture scholars help clarify John’s apparent contradiction by helping us understand the difference between the sinfulness of a non-believer and that of a professed Christian.
They tell us that Christians do not escape sin, but they realize that when they do sin, they cease to live in Fellowship with God.
This is in contrast to the habitual sinner who has no remorse for his sin, and even commits it – fully aware that he is working against God. So John calls that habitual sinner “a child of the Devil,” while the errant Christian returns to Fellowship with God when he seeks the reconciliation that Jesus offers to all who Love Him. That’s being a Child of God.
So, as Christian children of God, we must always discern the difference between the Truth of God and the heresy of false teachings; keeping in mind, as Jesus taught us, that we are never to judge others, because we’re ALL Children of God, some people just may not realize it yet.
This Fellowship that we share with God, then, reflects, not only, our fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters, but our fellowship with – ALL our non-Christian neighbors, as well.
It’s a Fellowship of Love!
The second, yet related, interesting observation in today’s Readings comes from John’s Gospel description of Jesus’ earliest disciples.
You see, contrary to Matthew’s description of Jesus’ calling
of the disciples, here the disciples come to Jesus, on their own, and ask if they could follow Him.
And even more fascinating, is how in John’s Gospel – it’s the disciples who are building on this New Community, this Church, by calling others to follow, just as Andrew did with his brother Simon.
You see, Jesus didn’t initiate the following, but he did initiate the example!
And that example is so beautiful. It’s so enticing, so magnetic, that we too should want nothing more than to bring everyone we know this table. Everyone we know – to His Love, leaving sin behind, and being immersed in Fellowship with God and with one another!
January 3, 2017
(Most Holy Name of Jesus)
John testified further, saying, “I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from the sky and remain upon him. I did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain, he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.” Jn_1:29-34
. . . at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil 2:10-11
January 2, 2017
(Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops and Doctors of the Church)
St. John wrote, “Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life.” 1_Jn_2:22-28
In one way or another, every one of us struggles with something in this life. Maybe it is joblessness. Maybe it is loneliness. Maybe it’s abuse or persecution, or oppression, or slavery – whether that’s at home or at work or in the very place we thought was safe and secure. But whatever it is that we’re struggling with, when we “remain” in God, He will see us through it. And even if, “through it” means an end to this life, He guarantees that the eternal life we are rewarded with will be unlike any of the struggles we have to endure here and now. This is what John was trying to get the new converts to Christianity to understand. And it all has to do with our Love for God and for one another.
January 1, 2017
(Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God)
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace! Nm_6:22-27
And, may the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ dwell in your hearts, beloved, this blessed new year and always!
Happy January, beloved!
Please stop by and visit December’s Daily Mass Quotes too…
EARLIER MONTH’S QUOTES can be found
in monthly subcategories of – “Whispers“
Link to Previous Month’s Whispers
Link to Next Month’s Whispers
Link back to Whispers to the Wind
Link to Saint of the Day
(also in Time page, under Liturgical Seasons section)
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