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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February 28, 2019
Jesus said, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire.” Mk_9:41-50
You see, beloved, the point was that there is something much much worse than our miserable little pains. There’s something much longer in duration than a little burn. And there’s something much more worth being good over than a fairy tale concept of heaven or an avoidance of hell. Eternal life with God is so much more than we can even imagine. And to achieve it, all it takes is a lot of faith. And that’s exactly why Jesus is here to help us.
February 27, 2019
Jesus said, “For whoever is not against us is for us.” Mk_9:38-40
So here we are at Disney World in Florida. It’s been a year of preparation for our daughter and her young family. And it’s raining! Is God against us? Are the weather gods against us? Is it just our misfortune. If I gaze upon the weather maps, it looks as though the only nasty weather in the whole country is right here in Florida. AND YET! And yet, if we look around the whole area we’ve been to since our arrival last week, the ponds are dry, the tide is out and everything is just starving for a little rain. So what we’re experiencing is REALLY a good thing for Florida. They really do need some rain. And in reality, there is no-one against us. Maybe the crowds will be a little less. Maybe sun will be a little less threatening to our winter frozen mid-MO pale skins. Maybe it’s just what the doctor (or our Loving God) ordered. So instead of counting our woes, maybe we should be counting our blessings instead! There really is NO-one against us! So they are all FOR us! Praise be to God!
February 26, 2019
Jesus: Taking a child, he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it, he said to them, “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” Mk_9:30-37
Child-like faith! IF we can learn to receive Jesus in faith, in faith that He will do whatever we ask, in faith that he will strengthen us when we need Him, in faith that He IS our hope and our eternal life, then we will be received by God our (and His) Father, as well.
Believe and Receive, beloved,
and His will be done for us!
February 25, 2019
The father of an epileptic boy begged Jesus, “if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.” Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” Mk_9:14-29
Help our unbelief Lord Jesus!!!
February 24, 2019
(7th Sunday Ordinary Time C)
Abishai whispered to David: “God has delivered your enemy into your grasp this day. Let me nail him to the ground with one thrust of the spear; I will not need a second thrust!” But David said to Abishai, “Do not harm him, for who can lay hands on the LORD’s anointed and remain unpunished?” 1_Sm_26:2,7-9,12-13,22-23
Today I’ll have to apologize to my dedicated followers. Been out of internet range for a couple of days and have gotten a little behind. So, as I sit in our hotel, here at Disney, I’ll try to catch up a little with the Lord’s Word.
Always loved the times when David, under heavy pursuit with the threat of death by King Saul, would have the perfect opportunity for revenge or just elimination of his enemy, and would pronounce these words: “Who is (anyone) to lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed!” We have to remember that in our thoughts and words with bosses we don’t quite agree with. We have to remember that with presidents we don’t agree with. We have to remember that with those who just seem to be out to get us.
Destroy anger with kindness and then wait and see how much better the world will become!
February 22, 2019
(The Chair of St. Peter)
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. In verdant pastures he gives me repose; Beside restful waters he leads me; he refreshes my soul. Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side with your rod and your staff that give me courage. You spread the table before me in the sight of my foes; You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD for years to come. Ps_23
My lead, my guide, my protector, my light, my nourishment, my refreshment, my advocate – my LOVE – is the Lord!
And so I (Jesus) say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Mt_16:13-19
Our Support System!!
February 21, 2019
Along the way he (Jesus) asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” They said in reply, “John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said to him in reply, “You are the Christ.” Mk_8:27-33
But, who do YOU say that I am? Who is Jesus to us, beloved? Is He that invisible friend that your kids have when they’re six? Is He the one you curse at when things just don’t go your way? Or is He the one who gives you that perfect answer for the problem that stumped you for so long, after you finally remembered to ask. Is Jesus the one you thanked for having made it through the day, regardless of how good or bad it may have seemed? Is Jesus the one you constantly apologize to with every curse, with every impatient impulse and with every disappointment with the human race. Did you see Jesus in the smile on that babe? Did you see Jesus in the fifth grader who answered their own extremely profound question? Did you see Jesus in the unkempt poor, the rude cashier, the repulsive pro-abortionist? Jesus IS more than just a figment, beloved! Jesus is alive and all around us, if we just look!
February 20, 2019
After Noah had landed his ark upon the dry land, he built an altar to God and offered sacrifices. The LORD said to himself: “Never again will I doom the earth because of man since the desires of man’s heart are evil from the start; nor will I ever again strike down all living beings, as I have done. As long as the earth lasts, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” Gn_8:6-13,20-22
Just reminds me of an old Joni Mitchell song:
. . . will we ever change our ways,
or will we ev-ver Seeeeeee . . .
. . . going round and round and round
in the Circle Game???
. . . for Becky and Debbie
February 19, 2019
Jesus was warning his disciples to be very cautious of what the Pharisees were teaching (what they were “feeding” the people). But alone and hungry, the disciples were thinking that they were being chastised for forgetting to bring along some food.
So Jesus said to them, “Why do you conclude that it is because you have no bread? Do you not yet understand or comprehend? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?” They answered him, “Twelve.” “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?” They answered him, “Seven.” He said to them, “Do you still not understand?” Mk_8:14-21
5, 5, 12, 7, 4, 7! I think they were more confused after that short math lesson than they ever were before that! Maybe, they were thinking, ‘if we add up all those numbers together, maybe then they’ll make more sense.’ And if they did, they’d end up with . . . 40! The good old eternity number. Jesus loves them for all eternity!
And it’s not the food, but the eternal life that Jesus offers, that we need to be concerned about too. Don’t you understand, beloved? Jesus IS the bread of life! And all we NEED – is Him!
So stop worrying about silly mortal stuff, and place your trust in Jesus. He WILL see us through! Count on it!
February 18, 2019
In the course of time Cain brought an offering to the LORD from the fruit of the soil, while Abel, for his part, brought one of the best firstlings of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not. Gn_4:1-15,25
The sun shines on the good and the wicked alike. Now the good may take that opportunity to taunt the wicked, thus making himself as bad as the one he taunts. And the wicked may turn his cheek and find good even in the rain, even though he may not find it present in his “good” brother. But sometimes it doesn’t quite work that way at all. Sometimes the wicked know no differently. They become jealous of that boy and his sun. They become vindictive that it doesn’t shine on them. And they even carry out their anger in evil words and actions.
Thus we find the first two boys of creation. One good, one not so bad, but with a streak of jealousy. One basking in the glow of the sun and one dissolving in the rain of “never being good enough.” It truly is one of the challenges of life, beloved. And yet, our God offers the prospect of hope:
So the LORD said to Cain: “Why are you so resentful and crestfallen. If you do well, you can hold up your head; but if not, sin is a demon lurking at the door: his urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.” Gn_4:1-15,25
Help us, Lord, to overcome the curse of mediocrity, loneliness and hopelessness! Let Your Son shine on the good and bad alike! And open our eyes to Your unconditional love!
February 17, 2019
(6th Sunday, Ordinary Time, C)
In Jesus’ Lukan beatitudes on the plain, with blessings followed by woes, Jesus said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.” Lk_6:17,20-26
If we can live this life, beloved, in such a way that it’s not just for the day, sucking out every possible good we can possibly take in, with no thought for tomorrow and no thought for the consequences of our selfishness. If we can live this life in total communion with God and our neighbor, giving to the sacrifice of our own self-indulgence, loving to the sacrifice of constantly feeling loved, and even patiently enduring infliction because of our beliefs. Then, as Jesus tells us, we will receive our reward. For the prophets endured the same afflictions. And Jesus tells us that they are very blessed!
And all of that doesn’t mean that we have to live self-inflicting lives. It just means that we prioritize giving over taking. We prioritize loving over hating. And we still appreciate, in humble thanksgiving, all the beauty and wonder and awesomeness God gives us through making those priorities.
You see, the reward of a smiling, fed, hungry person far outweighs any joy of eating we partake in ourselves. And the joy of getting a hug from a mourner, because we cared enough to care, far outweighs a selfish hug we give because we need it! And the joy of reward from having stood up for what we believe, even at the cost of insult and persecution, far outweighs any reward we may have imagined for having succumbed to betrayal for the sake of fear.
Blessed are YOU, beloved when you can be a blessing to others.
You are greatly in God’s favor!
And your Reward will be great!
February 16, 2019
Then the LORD God said: “See! The man has become like one of us, knowing what is good and what is evil! Therefore, he must not be allowed to put out his hand to take fruit from the tree of life also, and thus eat of it and live forever.” The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken. Gn_3:9-24
And yet, the love of God for His creation was still and is always there. God would give man chance after chance to redeem himself, an action that was impossible to achieve. You see, only God could redeem man to Himself. And so, He became man in order to accomplish just that. Jesus reopened the gateway to the that Tree of life and the only ticket in is our choice to believe in Him. To believe in the love of God for us and to show our love for Him in our love for one another. There is a line between good and evil, beloved, and that line has been drawn in our hearts. We know! And just in case we forgot – Jesus came to remind us . . . God loves us, no matter what!
February 15, 2019
Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals that the LORD God had made. The serpent asked the woman, “Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?” The woman answered the serpent: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; it is only about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden that God said, ‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.’” Gn_3:1-8
Did you notice in the past couple day’s readings from the Creation story of Genesis that both the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge resided in the SAME, ‘Middle’ of the garden?
Both of those trees were freely accessible. But one came with a blessing and the other came with a warning: “Eat from it and you will surely die.” Funny how quickly and how easily we can forget!
You see, temptation is not always hidden in the ghetto.
We don’t have to climb a steep ladder or cross a rope bridge to reach Temptation. It’s right there at the check-out counter in that upscale grocery store. It’s right there in our TV programs and in their enticing commercials. It’s in our favorite books. It’s in our movies. It’s sitting right there next to us, as we drive our car. And we can even find it in our Catholic publications.
And what are some of those subtle temptations?
Well there’s that temptation to look, that temptation to lust.
The temptation to hate. The temptation towards revenge. And we all know that strong feeling we get, when the good guy gets hurt and the bad guy gets away with it, in our stories. Or when somebody purposely cuts us off driving, and then goes even slower than we were in the first place.
Then there’s that temptation to gossip. “Did you see how so-and so looked? Did you hear what so-and-so did?” We all know those words that knock others down instead of offering compassion and encouragement, or just being quiet.
There’s that temptation to eat when we really know we shouldn’t. To curse when things just don’t go exactly our way. To take our loneliness into our own hands – through drugs, or alcohol, or even suicide, instead of relying on God to fill those holes in our lives, and to solve those challenges.
And how do we know when we’ve been overcome by a temptation?
Adam and Eve gave us the prime example. You see sin will always bring along with it, shame, guilt, despair and distrust.
What are we hiding from? . . . There’s probably some sin behind it.
Why are we in such despair, or guilt or so untrusting of everyone? There’s probably some sin behind it.
You see overcoming temptation is not something we can actually DO. Because, as we’ve heard, Satan IS very cunning!
But God is even stronger, even wiser, and even bolder than any temptation that Satan can throw at, or sneak upon us.
And we also have some pretty powerful “just say no” responses in our God-given toolbox. They’re called: close our eyes, cover our ears, drop that book, turn that channel, or just turn-away.
But our absolute, super-best secret weapon is prayer. God is always there to help us, if we just ask! And our second best strengthening and preparing tool is the support of one another. That why we have Mass, that’s why we have a billion small groupings like Cursillo, and Knights of Columbus, and Youth groups, and Quilting groups, and Prayer groups, and even Communion Services. These not there to perpetuate gossip and sin, but to build accountability and to support one another.
In Mark’s Gospel, we repeatedly hear it quoted that Jesus, “ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it.” I’m pretty sure, Jesus knew the Scriptures and human nature pretty well by then. . . .
Say “STOP” and they go
or Say “GO” and they STOP.
So all we have to do then, brothers and sisters, is to imagine Jesus constantly telling us NOT to be good.
Think it’ll work?
February 14, 2019
(Ss. Cyril, Monk and Methodius, Bishops)
Of all the animals and birds that the LORD had created for the man, none proved to be the suitable partner for the man. So the LORD God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The LORD God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said: “This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.” Gn_2:18-25
So, no, she wasn’t created to be his competition. She wasn’t created to be his slave. And she wasn’t created to be a thorn in his flesh. Woman was created to be his partner! Complementary! That means they complement each other. Better together than either one could ever had been alone. Why can’t we get that through our thick skulls? God created us as “partners!” Why can’t we be just that!
February 13, 2019
. . the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being. . . . The LORD God gave man this order: “You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; the moment you eat from it you are surely doomed to die.”
Jesus said, “Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?” . . “But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, . . .” Mk_7:14-23
The Creation stories from the Book of Genesis give us many images of the beginnings of life, but they also show us one very important aspect of our God. They show us that God’s love for us is absolutely immeasurable.
And when I say that, people often respond . . . “Yeah, but if God loves us so much, then why is there so much suffering, why are there wars and evil in the world?”
Jesus told a parable about a farmer who cleared his field, fertilized it, and planted only the most pure and weed-free seeds. But when the seeds had sprouted, along with the perfectly healthy wheat, there were also weeds there. And when asked by the field-hand if he should pull out the weeds, the farmer responded, “No, for if you pull out the weeds, you will also hurt the roots of the good plants. So let them grow together until the harvest, and then they can be separated.” Mt_13:24-30
You can be sure that the farmer (like God) would do all that he could to strengthen the wheat and weaken the weeds in their growth. And THERE is the perfect example of God’s love for us. Rather than hurting us to save us, He allowed Himself to BE hurt (in Jesus) in order to show us our path to salvation, if WE so choose to be saved. And He’ll continue to strengthen us all the way up to that harvest.
In our Gospel today, Jesus is responding to a complaint of the Jewish religious leaders about their laws of cleanliness. You see, unknowingly, those leaders (the wheat in the fields), slowly allowed the weeds of pride, and arrogance, and selfishness to take over their hearts, to the point of being harmful themselves, to the good of the field. And it wasn’t that the farmer, our God, had planted them as weeds, had created them as evil. . . .
Because, God gives His Spirit to every one of us, when we’re created. And His Spirit is a Spirit of Good, a Spirit of Wisdom, a Spirit of Discernment of what IS good and what is not.
And out of God’s immeasurable love, He also gives us the Gift of allowing us to choose – Good from evil, all by ourselves. If He didn’t, He could have just created robots, slaves for His own selfish use. And we would have no freedom, and we would have no Spirit, and we would have no LIFE.
But we know that God is NOT selfish, that instead, He IS all-giving and all-loving.
Jesus said that it’s not what goes into a person that makes him unclean. Although, if a person wallows in the mud long enough, it just might influence his or her God-given resistance to the mud. But what does make us unclean is when we forget, or refuse to allow God’s Spirit within us, to protect us from the weeds of the world, and instead, allow our hearts to become weeds themselves.
Remember, beloved, that God created us Good!
It’s up to us to nourish that Good, to strengthen that Good, and to live that Good, even in the midst of weeds. God is here to save us, in His love! And Jesus IS the avenue of our Salvation!
February 12, 2019
Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. Let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the cattle, and over all the wild animals and all the creatures that crawl on the ground.”
God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying: “Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. . . .
God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good. Gn_1:20—2:4a
MADE in His image and likeness!
And sent to multiply!
God loves His Creation SO very much that he continues to bless us with His holy grace, with His unconditional love and with His promise of Eternal life. Now it’s up to us to choose to partake in His Gifts. It’s up to us to believe in His Son, Jesus and to follow His healing and life-giving commands. LOVE and multiply, just as God loves us – unconditionally – everyone!
(Oh, and by the way, happy birthday Abe … Abraham Lincoln! And thanks for all you did for human rights, for justice, for love of God and for all mankind!)
February 11, 2019
(World Day of the Sick)
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth,
the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters. Gn_1:1-19
Just as the Holy Spirit swept over the dark waters of the newly created earth to bring light and hope and life, so She will sweep over all of us, beloved, to bring healing. When we trust in Jesus, with just a touch in prayer, with a gaze at His crucifix, with a whisper in the depths of our souls, He will heal us of our sin, of our ailments, of our hopelessness. And our lives will be filled with the light of His hope. Trust in Him, beloved, and live!
(Today is also the true Memorial day of Our Lady of Lourdes)
February 9, 2019
The Apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” Mk_6:30-34
There are times for hard work and there are times for rest. Even God tells us that once in a while we need to rest. So breath in, beloved and let there be rest! Rest in the sacred heart of Jesus!
February 8, 2019
(St. Josephine Margaret Bakhita, Virgin)
Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels. Heb_13:1-8
February 7, 2019
Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits. He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick – no food, no sack, no money in their belts. Mk_6:7-13
Job is quoted as saying, “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!” Jb_1:21
So why are we so worried about always having so much stuff with us when we go away? Gotta have our smartphone. Gotta have 4-extra pairs of clothes for that trip. Gotta have all our makeup and cleansing stuff. Jesus told His disciples to take the bare minimum. God will provide all they and we will ever need. Have Faith!
February 6, 2019
(St. Paul Miki and Companions, Martyrs)
So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one be deprived of the grace of God, that no bitter root spring up and cause trouble, through which many may become defiled. Heb_12:4-7,11-15
There really are enough nasty things going on in our world today, that we don’t have to remind everyone – they already know! But how many of your loved ones, friends and neighbors know about the awesome love of God for them. How many know of the incredible miracles He has endowed upon, not only those mythical characters of the Bible, but even people in our own time: disappearing chronic illnesses, miraculously sold houses, salvation in the midst of horrendous storms. You see, beloved, all those stories give glory to our loving God and raise up people, rather than depressing them with hopelessness. Jesus called us to be those beacons of light to the world. How can WE do that in our daily travels? Well, as a start we can begin by staying focused on His LOVE. It truly has the power to brighten even the most challenging of days!
February 5, 2019
(St. Agatha, Virgin and Martyr)
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.” Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Mk_5:21-43
“She had SUFFERED GREATLY at the hands of MANY DOCTORS and SPENT ALL that she had.” And here we are 2000-years later still doing the same thing! To all the doctors out there, I’m sorry, for I’m sure there must be some good ones out there somewhere, but I’m one of those people who just don’t believe in them. I hear more stories of people suffering at their hands both physically and financially, that it’s just one of those things I’d rather avoid!
On the other hand, I am one of those people who truly believe in the power of prayer. This woman in today’s Scripture had done it all. She spent her last cent on those quacks and no doctor could heal her. And yet, her FAITH in Jesus could. How many people do you know, beloved, who were miraculously healed through their faith and the power of prayer? I know quite a few.
As for me, I’m more looking forward to the next life than to drag out this one through the pills and hospitals and whims of some crazy doctors (and no offense to those few good ones)! But, praise be to God for our Faith and for our Savior, Jesus.
February 4, 2019
A very strong, demon possessed man caught sight of Jesus from a distance, he 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!” (He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”) He asked him, “What is your name?” . . . Mk_5:1-20
Within every one of us, beloved, there is some demon who in some way possesses us. It may be as innocuous as impatience or procrastination, or it may be as self-defeating as addiction to drugs, alcohol, porn, money, work or even technology. But whatever that demon may be, the very first thing we need to do is recognize it within ourselves and NAME it!
Then place Jesus before you and prostrate yourself before Him. He is our God, our Creator, our brother and our friend. And He wants nothing more than to see us healthy and whole. He will help us to cast those demons to the sea. Let them drown in the netherworld. Free us to be the beautiful children of God that we were created to be.
BELIEVE, beloved! And thus shall it be . . .
in the hands of Jesus!
February 3, 2019
(4th Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
(St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr)
The word of the LORD came to me, saying: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you. Jer_1:4-5,17-19
Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote me this proverb, ‘Physician, cure yourself,’ and say, ‘Do here in your native place the things that we heard were done in Capernaum.’” And he said, “Amen, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own native place. Lk_4:21-30
Well, OK, beloved, maybe we’re not accepted in our own home towns, but God knew us before we were even born. So who’s the prophet in your own homes? Maybe it’s that genius kid of yours. Maybe it’s that husband who’s working his life away for your sake. Maybe it’s that wife who keeps on telling you to slow down. Maybe we just need to open our eyes to the prophets all around us. Who knows, we might just be pleasantly surprised!
February 2, 2019
(The Presentation of the Lord)
When the days were completed for their purification according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph took Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord,” and to offer the sacrifice of “a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons,” in accordance with the dictate in the law of the Lord. Lk_2:22-40
To all God-fearing and law-abiding people, the dictates of the law must be followed. And thus it was that Mary and Joseph knew and followed their call to have Jesus consecrated by the Priests in the Temple, at the “proper time.” But it just happened that there were a couple of total strangers who intervened in the process. And they knew the unknown! And they blessed and forewarned Mary and Joseph about what they were to expect with this very special little child.
You see, it was all foretold in the ancient Scriptures. And if one were devoted to God and their faith, as were Simeon and Anna, God would have let them in on this little secret: Jesus IS the promised Messiah, the Savior of the world. Now, without taking away our freedom of choice, our free will, God gives us the power of decision. Do we accept that salvation through our belief, our faith in Him? Or do we reject it and miss out on what God wants all of us to so freely have – Eternal Life! Simeon and Anna knew, without a doubt! Do we?
February 1, 2019
Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering. At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction; at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated. You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, knowing that you had a better and lasting possession. 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
Jesus said to the crowds: “This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the grain is ripe, he wields the sickle at once, for the harvest has come.” He said, “To what shall we compare the Kingdom of God, or what parable can we use for it? It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.” Mk_4:26-34
Someone once asked Jesus why He always spoke in parables. Jesus, himself, answered the question with kind-of a “parabolic” answer.
11 He said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted.
12 To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because ‘they look but do not see and hear but do not listen or understand.’ Mt_13:
If I wanted to teach my son to drive, beyond the basics of: this is the steering wheel, this is the brake pedal, and this is the gas pedal; he’s going to have to learn a lot more about instinct, defensiveness, patience and the quirky habits of other people.
Now, all that may not sound like it has anything to do with driving, but without it, that boy may not be driving very long, or may not even be alive very long. So the number one requirement for learning how to safely drive is for the student to really want to learn.
By teaching in parables, Jesus was weeding out those who really wanted this new-found faith – from those who didn’t. And the group fell into a few different categories:
There were those who were lazily just looking for an escape – you know those who say, “Oh it’s snowing out, think I’ll call in sick.” or “Oh there’s a new preacher in town, think I’ll take a day off for a conference.”
Then there were those rebellious ones, who were listening – just to find an edge on which they could hone their debating skills.
And then there were “the disciples,” full of questions, and like those deer in my front yard, with their ears perked up, they were just hungry to learn!
And how do you feed a hungry hippo?
Very cautiously, you lead them to their dinner.
You feed them with parables. And then you step back, and, like the farmer, you patiently watch and wait. And before you know it, you need to buy some pruning shears.
Remember the days when you first began driving, beloved? Your attention was keen, your focus was sharp, and your heart was just pumping with the excitement of freedom. And the very last two things that you would ever want to happen was either getting a ticket or being in an accident. Dad didn’t even have to tell you that – that would be the end of it.
Well, brothers and sisters, I think it’s all just another parable of how God wants us to live. We know the rules, we know the pitfalls and we know the consequences.
But, you know what?
We also know the rewards of keeping in line. And every once in a while we just need a little reminder, a little prompt, a little parable . . .
And there’s the apple – we DON’T eat!
But there’s the sunshine,
and there’s the blue skies,
and there’s the warm apple pie and the ice cream,
and there’s our Sunday Mass,
and there’s the fresh breeze in our hair, driving down the quiet country road, with our favorite music gently playing, and with Mom and Jesus sitting right there – at our side!
. . . And we’re at Peace and
we’re at Home!
Happy February, beloved!
God’s blessings always!
Please stop by and visit January’s Daily Mass Quotes too…
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