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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January 31, 2019
(St. John Bosco, Priest)
Jesus said, “The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you.” Mk_4:21-25
That’s a pretty heavy statement, beloved, when we really ponder it! It’s kind of like the “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” from the Lord’s Prayer. It really makes us think twice when we dish out the dirt instead of the cake! Jesus wants us to be offering EVERYONE the cake and not the dirt, because whatever we dish out will just be dished back to us (in even greater abundance)! And I believe that Jesus would be much more pleased with us being fat and happy than down and dirty!
May our loving God bless us with the wisdom, patience and joy of giving – in love!
Oh, and a very HAPPY Birthday to our awesome daughter, Dr. Christie, today! God bless you always, sweetheart!
January 30, 2019
The Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying: ‘This is the covenant I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord: “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them upon their minds,”‘ he also says: ‘Their sins and their evildoing I will remember no more.” Heb_10:11-18
That they are placed and written in our hearts and minds, doesn’t necessarily mean we see and read them. But they are there, in all of us, beloved. Like Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seed (Mt_4:1-20), we must be the rich ground that is open and fertile to grow what has been planted there. So clear out the rocks and the thorns in those hearts and minds and discover those laws that will lead us to the Eternal Life that Jesus has gained for us!
January 29, 2019
I have waited, waited for the LORD,
and he stooped toward me.
And he put a new song into my mouth,
a hymn to our God.
R. Here am I Lord; I come to do your will. Ps_40
Train this mind, train this tongue Lord to think and to speak only Your will! Not as I would have it, but as You would. Lord, lead me in Your path, that I may do and act and be Your presence before all that, or who, are set before me. For You are our Life and our Love!
January 28, 2019
(St. Thomas Aquinas, Priest and Doctor of the Church)
Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment, so also Christ, offered once to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him. Heb_9:15,24-28
Come Lord Jesus!
January 27, 2019
(3rd Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
Then Nehemiah, that is, His Excellency, and Ezra the priest-scribe and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all the people: “Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not be sad, and do not weep,” for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. He said further: “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our LORD. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!” Neh_8:2-4a,5-6,8-10
Sometimes, beloved, those words we hear at Mass just might illuminate some guilt we may have for wrong-doings that we didn’t even realize we had done. Sometimes they may bring us intense Joy for what people in the past had done for us. And sometimes we may just get stuck on one word that sparks our curiosity, that answers some deep question we’ve pondered for years, or even brings us much, much closer to Jesus than we ever thought possible. These were the intense feelings the Israelites, in return from exile, were feeling, as, for many of them, this was the first time they ever heard the words of God as transmitted by Moses and their forefathers.
Then after making it through the readings, just like our Mass, the Israelites celebrated the Joy of the Sabbath, or our Sunday, with a meal. What richer food, or what sweeter drink is there than our Eucharistic, Body and Blood of Jesus. It truly is not a time of mourning or sadness. Sunday is our time of exorbitant celebration, for on it our Lord and Savior was resurrected. And through that act, we have the hope of resurrection and eternal life that makes our lives as sweet as the Eucharist we partake in.
Praise be to God!
January 26, 2019
(Ss. Timothy and Titus, Bishops)
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God for the promise of life in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, my dear child: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. . . . 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
What a glorious thing, this testimony and witness of the Lord in our lives, beloved! St. Paul tells us all that we should never be ashamed of witnessing to the boundless love of God for us through Jesus. And it’s through all of our baptisms, through the imposition of hands by our Priest and Bishop (in Confirmation) that we, equally have this call to Proclaim. The Holy Spirit, dwelling within us will give us all the power, the wisdom and the courage we need to do just that!
January 25, 2019
(Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul)
St. Paul 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
Did you ever hear that little voice in your head, beloved, calling you to do something, or visit someone, or stop doing something that you really didn’t want to – do, visit or stop. Maybe it was one of those little habits, you just knew you shouldn’t be doing. Maybe it was that person who really rubbed you the wrong way. Maybe it was stepping out of your comfort zone. And maybe it wasn’t even a little voice, but a screaming in your head – to let it go! Paul got that screaming message! And it was so strong that it knocked him to the ground and blinded him. “Let go of the persecuting and hurting and killing of God’s children.” “Open your heart to feel what they may be feeling.” “Open your heart to love a little more, a little differently.”
Something to really think about, beloved. What is it in my life that I need to let go of? Maybe it’s hurtful to me or others! Or what is it that I may need to cling on to a little bit tighter?
Just, maybe, it’s JESUS!
January 24, 2019
(St. Francis de Sales, Bishop and Doctor of the Church)
Jesus is always able to save those who approach God through him, since he lives forever to make intercession for them. Heb_7:25—8:6
All of our petitions, beloved, are TO God, THROUGH Jesus, in the LOVE of the Holy Spirit, where Jesus is our perfect intercessor. And if we really want to push it, we can ask for a little help from Mama Mary!
January 23, 2019
(St. Vincent, Deacon and Martyr)
Melchizedek, king of Salem and priest of God Most High, met Abraham as he returned from his defeat of the kings and blessed him. And Abraham apportioned to him a tenth of everything. His name first means righteous king, and he was also “king of Salem,” that is, king of peace. Heb_7:1-3,15-17
Since we’ve entered this Church season of Ordinary time, the Gospel readings have been concentrating on examples of Jesus manifesting His divinity; proving to us that He truly IS God in the flesh.
Between His healing miracles, His exorcism of evil spirits and His power over nature, there should have been absolutely no question of the Messianic nature of Jesus. And yet the Jewish religious leaders were constantly testing Jesus to find a reason to silence Him.
You see, their God had become, for them, so distant, so powerful, so unlike man, that there was no way, in their minds, that He would ever walk among them in the flesh. So they refused to believe even what their own eyes and ears saw and heard. Until the only solution they could conceive for silencing Jesus was to put Him to death.
And yet, their own forefather, Abraham, as we heard in our first reading, was more than willing to offer a huge 10% of his battle spoils – to a totally unknown Priest and King, by the name of Melchizedek – solely because he was a Servant of God.
We often hear St. Paul refer to Melchizedek in his letters as a prefiguring of Jesus. And the reason he did so, was because in the Old Testament Scriptures there was no reference as to where this Melchizedek came from, nor what ever happened to him – after his encounter with Abraham. In essence, Melchizedek was immortal, with no beginning and no end, just like Jesus.
And all of that, simply leaves us with hope.
Unlike the Pharisees, our minds are open to recognizing Jesus in our brothers and sisters. Our hearts, too, are open, like Abraham’s, to offer the very best of our resources, our talents, and even our lives to our immortal God. And our futures, even though we know that we’ll have to pass through that tunnel of death, our futures are filled with the certain hope of eternal life in union with our loved ones again, and especially with our Jesus, who walks along with us through it all.
January 22, 2019
(Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children)
I will give thanks to the LORD with all my heart
in the company and assembly of the just.
Great are the works of the LORD,
exquisite in all their delights. Ps 111
. . . Especially His magnificent creation of us –
from conception through natural death!!!
January 21, 2019
(St. Agnes, Virgin and Martyr)
Jesus said, No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak. If he does, its fullness pulls away, the new from the old, and the tear gets worse. Mk_2:18-22
And so, Israel, with a tear in its fabric, could not be corrected with the simple, new patch of change. They needed one of their own kind, like Jesus, to point a new way to salvation. And yet Jesus was the new patch for the non-Jewish, Gentiles. The faith that they gained was not the faith of old-time Israel. Their coat was new and it was better.
In today’s world we might say just the opposite. The new culture may be faster, it may be easier, it may be more sleek than the ways of their grandparents. But unfortunately, it’s NOT better! And there is no way to patch a tattooed, ear-ringed, trash-mouthed, confused-sexed, death loving zombie with respect, love, life and morals. But we can pray for them, beloved. And we can love them anyway, even though we are clearly not in agreement with the color of their coats! We love them, because we know, that deep down inside, in the end, they’re equally God’s beloved, imperfect children, just as we are! And praise be to God for all of us!
January 20, 2019
(2nd Sunday Ordinary Time, C)
There, in the middle of the wedding feast, when the wine ran short, 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
You’ve got to absolutely love this interaction between Jesus and His Mom. There He was having a grand old time, with His disciples in tow, and Mom was calling Him to work! “Come on, Mom, not in front of all my friends and relatives. The time is just not right. And yet, who am I to get on the bad side of Mom?” (just God!)
Notice, beloved, that Mom never asked Jesus to DO anything. It was purely insinuated. All she did was make a point. Yet, Jesus knew. Jesus knew that when Mom made a point – it wasn’t just for the fun of it. It was an order! And Mom knew that it didn’t take a rocket scientist, or even God to understand that when the time was right, the time WAS right! And she also knew, that without a doubt, Jesus would respond, exactly as she expected Him to.
You see, we all tend to focus on this great miracle, this first miracle of Jesus in John’s Gospel (water to wine). Yet, the hidden gem, the absolutely most awesome part of the whole episode was this interaction between Jesus and Mary.
Yes, the miracle has all sorts of theological overtones. The Nile turning into blood by Moses, the water and blood coming from the side of Jesus as He hung on the cross, the miraculous transformation of wine into the blood of Christ in the transubstantiation of the Eucharist and the transformation of us, ourselves, through the waters of Baptism, through the blood of the lamb on the cross.
But when we get to the point of questioning: “What’s the point, Mary? What’s the point mom?” – just like Jesus, the question is undebatable. Mom is ALWAYS right! And in the case of the wedding feast, Mary DID verbally express her order, but it was not directed to Jesus, it was directed to the servants; as much as it IS to us: “Do whatever He tells you!” And THAT’s an order!
Thanks be to God for moms and especially for our Holy Mother Mary!
January 19, 2019
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
Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Ps 19
R. Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
Jesus said to him, “Follow me.” Mk_2:13-17
So, which of His words strike you today, beloved? Is it His call? Is it His healing words? Is it the Love and Life He promises to the Faithful? Or is it the “two-edged sword” that exposes our hearts? Maybe we need a little ‘sin’-ectomy to remove the cancerous sin, those death causing habits, of our lives. Come back to His word, beloved, and you will be healed.
For, Jesus said, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” Mk_2:13-17
January 18, 2019
Let us be on our guard while the promise of entering into his (God’s) rest remains . . Heb_4:1-5,11
After they had broken through (the roof), they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to him, “Child, your sins are forgiven.” Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” Mk_2:1-12
Did you ever notice, beloved, that when our hearts are filled with bitterness, resentment, anger or jealousy it’s very hard to find peace. And the only consolation to our discord is when we commiserate with others who are equally broken. And our only recompense is when we share that brokenness with those who are not broken, so that they can feel as miserable as we do.
We call it: getting even, slander, gossip, putting them in their place, revenge and eventually even outright war, as with larger groups like ISIS, Boko Haram and the KKK. And eventually, when we’re in these larger, revenge-seeking groups, we tend to find ourselves brainwashed into thinking and believing that we are actually in the right and our actions are justified.
And the sad part IS, that it can happen at all different levels:
– from the individual TV addict, to the small Bridge group,
– from the kids’ scouting organizations, to a whole political platform,
– and eventually, to the whole world’s Media System; a System that has the power to influence people’s personal thoughts and beliefs; even if their words are mostly just propaganda and lies.
It can even infiltrate Religious organizations like Judaism, Islam and Christianity, whose whole Faith is supposed to be based upon love and peace.
Jesus had to deal with it right there among His own brothers and sisters, and Rabbis and Scribes.
You see, if the Roman Caesar could hold his regional kings, like Herod, accountable under the threat of death, then those kings could hold their subjects, like the Jewish Leaders, under the same accountability.
And if the Jewish leaders were not only accountable to the Romans, under the threat of death, but also to God’s Laws (which were mostly their own made up laws) under the threat of eternal damnation, then, you can be sure, that no-one under their rule would get away with anything, even miraculous healings, without that same threat. All done, so as not to upset that inverted apple-cart – which was impurely based on death and revenge, rather than on life and love.
And they all truly believed that they were in the right, and justified, even though their hearts were really filled with bitterness, resentment, anger and jealousy.
The big question, then, for anyone wise enough, or powerful enough, or brave enough to contest the system, was: How, does one go about, making a change without resorting to the same tactics of hatred, revenge and war?
Jesus showed us, that it’s not sickness that threatens us, for He can heal.
And it’s not demons that can threaten us, for He can exorcise them.
And it’s not nature than can threaten us, for He even has power over nature.
And most importantly, it’s not even death that can harm us, for our true lives are not held, like puppets in the hands of other men, but are gifted to us, through our Baptisms, by our own free will, and held in the hands of God!
And God’s power is not based on the threat of Death, but on the reward of Eternal Life and on the motivation of LOVE.
You see, the Scribes challenging Jesus were right in saying that only God can forgive sins. What they didn’t realize was that He was right there in front of them! And now, He’s right here in our own hearts.
He reminds us when our thoughts are true and when they’re not. And in those times when they ARE, in those times when our hearts are filled with love, and peace, and joy, and hope, and goodness, then, as the Psalmist says, then “we will enter into His rest!” And OH what a glorious “Rest” it is!
January 17, 2019
(St. Anthony, Abbot)
Jesus remained outside in deserted places, and people kept coming to him from everywhere. Mk_1:40-45
The Spirit of the Lord will draw them in, even when we may prefer solitude. Jesus Himself prayed often, as we hear in the Scriptures. And the crowds never ceased seeking Him. We see the same thing happen to many of the saints: St. Anthony the Abbot in the desert, St. Francis on the mountain, St. Julian of Norwich the anchoress.
On our part we must always pray that Jesus will protect us from the evil deception of the devil when we open ourselves to the solitude of union with God. And both will happen. And in our recognition of both, the strengthening of the Holy Spirit and the deceit of Satan, we will gain the wisdom of being able to advise others in their, then, petty battles with evil. When Jesus fills us with His wisdom in our solitude, we will be like that magnet that draws others to want that wisdom, that peace, that closeness to God that we have gained.
So, be strong, beloved and trust in Jesus to give us His strength and wisdom in both instances – the battle of the evil one and the patience with the crowds seeking a little bit of Jesus through us!
January 16, 2019
Of Jesus, the writer of Hebrews says, therefore, he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested. Heb_2:14-18
If you ever had that boss who never set a foot on the “floor” or in the “field,” you know what little help he would be when it came time for support – either in purchasing the necessities, procuring personnel for assistance or getting advice on difficult technical issues. All he is good for is complaining, belittling and punishing you for things out of your own control. It’s frustrating.
That was NOT our Lord. Our Jesus knew that in order to support the needy, He had to become one of the needy Himself. And in doing so, with all the power of God, Jesus was able to heal them. He was able to raise us up. And He was able to teach us how to survive this sin-filled world of temptation and downfall. He WAS our Servant Leader and still IS!
And that was His model for us to follow as well. We KNOW human weakness and suffering. Now let’s use them to help heal others. Jesus will be our rock of strength through it all!
January 15, 2019
For it was fitting that he, (God) for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation (Jesus) perfect through suffering. He who consecrates (Jesus) and those who are being consecrated (us) all have one origin (God). Therefore, he (Jesus) is not ashamed to call them “brothers” saying: “I will proclaim your name to my brethren, in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.” Heb_2:5-12
The sweetness of God’s grace is always sweeter when it is first discovered or when an effort has been expended in order to discover it. The beauty of God’s grace is all around us. We just need to find it. And sometimes we may need to sacrifice, to suffer a little in order to see it. Jesus did the suffering for us in order that we may attain the Grace of Salvation that God had planned for us from the beginning of time. Can we accept that grace? And when we do recognize it and all that had gone into its being offered to us – then we’ll experience a total metanoia, a total change in our entire being to never want to sin again. Because, in the end, nothing, absolutely nothing is sweeter than the Grace of Salvation that Jesus has gained for us!
January 14, 2019
Brothers and sisters: In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through the Son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe, ‘who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word.’ Heb_1:1-6
REFULGENCE – derives from Latin “refulgēre,” which means “to shine brightly” and which is itself a descendant of the verb “fulgēre,” meaning “to shine.” “Fulgēre” also underlies “effulgence,” a shining synonym of “refulgence.” (Merriam-Webster)
Jesus IS the brightly shining Glory of God. More than the Morning Star, more than the brightness of the moon, more like the Sun at noon. Too bright to peer into. To bright to stare at. Jesus is not just the perfection of the Father, He is part of us too! And He IS our reason for life and our salvation for eternity. Trust in Him, beloved, and He will guide you into ALL that is Good!
January 13, 2019
(The Baptism of the Lord)
Thus says the LORD: Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased, Is_42:1-4,6-7
Peter proceeded to speak to those gathered in the house of Cornelius, saying: “In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Acts_10:34-38
Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Lk_3:15-16,21-22
“With you, I am well pleased.”
Did anyone ever say that to you, brothers and sisters? Maybe we hear it every day. But maybe we never hear it. Maybe our hearts are so desperately crying out to hear those words, that we’ve almost given up on EVER hearing them.
“With YOU I am well pleased!”
Despite our oopses, despite our, maybe, negative attitudes, despite our slowness in understanding, despite our independent natures, and even our rebelliousness, “With you: Ruth and Jim, and Mary and Tom, and all of you, “with you, I am well pleased!”
Today we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus; and really, our own Baptisms too. And, just as we heard and saw that Trinitarian Unity in Jesus’ Baptism: the Voice, the Spirit and the Son, we can also hear and see them, not only today, but potentially EVERY day, IF: our HEARTS are open to listen and our WILL is obedient to follow.
And if that IS our ‘post-baptismal condition,’ which it should be for all of us, – an open heart and an obedient will, then just like the disciples of Jesus, and just like the disciples of John the Baptist, and just like your brothers and sisters, who willfully and obediently came here, to Mass, to be with God, and to be with you today, (despite our 15 inches of snow), our loving Father is addressing all of us with those same words, “With you I am well pleased.” And, I might add that – IN you, He is initiating a huge Conversion for your life.
So what does this Open-Heart, Obedient-Will and Conversion really mean?
Well, we see it several times over, throughout our Scriptures today. In our first reading, The Lord speaks through the Prophet Isaiah about His Servant. That Servant has been understood, by Scripture Scholars to represent, the Nation of Israel, many of whom actually had a pretty hard time with the open-heart and obedient-will concept. As a matter of fact, that’s exactly where the nickname, “Stiff Necked” came from.
The Servant has also been described as Isaiah himself, God’s obedient Messenger and Prophet, who followed ever order, regardless of the pain or the embarrassment it may have caused in his life.
And yet, it’s through the eyes of the New Testament that WE believe that Isaiah’s Servant Oracles actually prefigured Jesus. Jesus, who with patient endurance would obediently, not snuff out a smoldering wick, nor break a bruised reed, because of his boundless love for everyone!
It was in that love, and through His open and Most Sacred Heart, that Jesus gave sight to the blind, freedom to the leprous prisoners, and light to the demon possessed and lost, just as Isaiah prophesied of God’s beloved and chosen Servant.
And then, of course, we have that incredible Conversion story of Cornelius and Peter, in our Second Reading. Cornelius, who was a Pagan, Roman Centurion; was also a devout believer in God. And one day, Cornelius, with his open-heart, had a vision of an angel of God – calling him to meet with a man named Peter.
Peter, meanwhile, also had a vision, calling him to disavow his ancient, Jewish, cleanliness customs by eating forbidden foods and meeting with this non-Jewish, Gentile, named Cornelius.
Did you ever have one of those, (what a non-Christian would call) “Chance encounters,” but a devout person would call a “Providentially inspired meeting” with a total stranger? And in that meeting, you discovered that there was a connection, there was an instant understanding, that seemed to change you forever; kind of like the encounter of Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well.
Well, the same thing happened between Peter and Cornelius. And the change that resulted was a seismically, explosive Conversion.
You see, after Peter asked Cornelius why he summoned him to come, and Cornelius asked Peter, just who, exactly, he was, because he didn’t even know, they both realized that their meeting was totally orchestrated by God! The Voice, the Spirit and the Power were all there!
You see, it was through Peter’s open-heart and obedience to an unbelievable and challenging vision that he was converted to recognize exactly what Jesus had taught, all along, about accepting EVERYONE, even us Gentiles, into the Faith.
And it was through the open-heart and obedience of Cornelius, that he and his family were converted and Baptized into the faith; not only with the John’s Water Baptism of repentance, but with that same Holy Spirit who descended upon Jesus at His Baptism and upon the Apostles at Pentecost.
It was an absolutely phenomenal event that stemmed from a little bit of listening and a faith-driven obedience to God’s call on the parts of both Peter and Cornelius! They were both changed forever!
As we complete our Liturgical Season of Christmas today, and prepare to enter back into Ordinary Time, we remember this huge conversion that Jesus has initiated into OUR lives through our Baptisms.
We open our hearts to see, and to hear, and to find those: Voices and Doves, those puddles and snowflakes of Joy in our presence every day.
And then we relax our ever-defensive WILL, to maybe take a chance on obediently following God’s call for us.
It just may be – a life-changer!
And finally, with every new encounter, with every new and old face we meet, we share that same Holy Blessing of God:
“With You I am well pleased!”
January 12, 2019
Beloved, We know that we belong to God, and the whole world is under the power of the Evil One. We also know that the Son of God has come and has given us discernment to know the one who is true. And we are in the one who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. 1_Jn_5:14-21
Confidence, Discernment, Truth, Life!
January 11, 2019
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 who 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 certainly does not beat around the bush. It’s Yea or Nay! Either we believe or not. Either we live or not. Below is the Bible’s footnote for John’s statement – couldn’t have put it better!
* Water and blood (1_Jn 5:6) refers to Christ’s baptism (Mt_3:16–17) and to the shedding of his blood on the cross (Jn_19:34).
The Spirit was present at the baptism (Mt_3:16; Mk_1:10; Lk_3:22; Jn_1:32, 34).
The testimony to Christ as the Son of God is confirmed by divine witness (1_Jn 5:7–9), greater by far than the two legally required human witnesses (Dt_17:6). To deny this is to deny God’s truth; cf. Jn_8:17–18.
The gist of the divine witness or testimony is that eternal life (1_Jn 5:11–12) is given in Christ and nowhere else. To possess the Son is not acceptance of a doctrine but of a person who lives now and provides life.
BELIEVE and LIVE!
January 10, 2019
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, . . .
He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.’ Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. He said to them, “Today this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” Lk_4:14-22
The Spirit of the Lord! That same Spirit that Jesus sent upon the disciples at Pentecost, that same Spirit that we received in our Baptism and Confirmation, that Spirit that we receive every day of our lives to bring us wisdom and courage is upon US as well, beloved. Are we truly aware of His presence? Are we reliant upon Him/Her to free those in captivity to the wiles of the world? Do people look intently at us and wonder where that wisdom came from? Do we sometimes even look intently at ourselves and wonder the same thing? It is the Holy Spirit! Trust in Jesus, beloved. His love will set us free!!!
January 9, 2019
God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. 1_Jn_4:11-18
In the midst of the storm, when the disciples saw Jesus walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out. They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were completely astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened. Mk_6:45-52
We might say that the disciples were, figuratively, walking on the security of the land, while Jesus was trying to teach them how to walk on water. Sure, they made their living as fishermen. And, as fisherman, I’m sure they were all able to swim. And they would have also been very familiar with the quickly advancing, evening storms on the Sea of Galilee.
But this was different.
Now, as followers of Jesus, they had stepped out of their familiar turf and were sailing in uncharted territory. They were supposed to be putting their trust in this Jesus, and yet, they were probably asking each other, why He would send them out on a potentially stormy sea, all by themselves.
And, you know what, beloved, we might have asked the same thing throughout our entire lives.
Why did I have to leave the security and fun of living at home with my mom – to go to some strange new place called school?
And just when I was starting to get used to the routine of elementary school, I had to readjust to the challenges of middle school and high school and college.
And just when I was getting comfortable with constantly changing schools and all of their tests, then I had to find a job, with a boss and too few vacation days and a serious guilt trip if I ever got sick.
And then there was the mortgage, and the insurances, and the kids, and the temper tantrums, and the orthodontist, and the colleges, and the weddings.
Remember those days, beloved?
And just when things finally seemed to be settling down again, we had to start all over again with grandkids, God bless them all!!
And sometimes we wonder why life is so, exactly the same, as those disciples in their boat, in the middle of a storm. Maybe Jesus wasn’t just speaking to His disciples, but to all of us, as well.
Maybe this life that we are so familiar with, this life of constant storms, is really just our ultimate test of FAITH . . .
Didn’t we understand how, in the multiplication of loaves, all those people didn’t go starving, but were miraculously fed, instead – (because of this perfect love of Jesus)?
Didn’t we understand how all those outcast lepers were healed – so that they could be reunited with their families and communities – (because of this perfect love of Jesus)?
Didn’t we see how Jesus even had power over nature – (to show us that nothing, not even nature, can keep us from His perfect love)?
And in that love, and with that power, what can we possibly be afraid of? You see, God will provide us with EVERYTHING we need. All we have to do is TRUST in Him, and love others, just as He loves us!
St. John calls it “Perfect Love,” this Love for God – and for one another. And when we can base our lives on that Love of Jesus, that Love of God for us, then, no financial crash, no fire, nor theft, nor death can ever harm us, even when it is our own death,
because God will protect us in His perfect love.
And in our perfect love, as John tells us, there is NO FEAR.
Imagine living a perfectly fearless life, brothers and sisters!
It’s there, just waiting for us,
when we open our hearts to God’s perfect love!
January 8, 2019
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. 1_Jn_4:7-10
God = Love, Jesus = Life, We = believe, sin = gone!
January 7, 2019
(St. Andre Bessette, C.S.C. Religious)
Beloved: We receive from him whatever we ask, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this: we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another just as he commanded us. Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them, and the way we know that he remains in us is from the Spirit whom he gave us.
Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. 1_Jn_3:22–4:6
Believe in Jesus and love one another. Not really that bad, huh? But what happens when temptations come that tell us otherwise. ‘Well, if Jesus really existed then why do so many bad things happen to us?’ ‘Well that person had no right to cut me off in traffic, so I have every right to hate her.’
You see, beloved, John is telling us that those are exactly the “spirits” who are not from God. God’s Spirit tells us that Jesus exists to save us from the evil of the world, not to prevent it. It’s like complaining about getting wet if you jump out of the boat. It’s not the water’s fault. But it just may be the Spirit of Jesus that allowed you to be able to tell the story.
And maybe there’s something else going on in your travels other than just ME – maybe that person who cut you off is in a dire emergency and just wasn’t thinking about anything other than their dying mother in the hospital – so the Spirit of God tells us to pray for them instead of hating them. It’s really not ALL about me – it’s all about the love that I can share and the love that makes my heart sing instead of cursing! Not a bad choice!
Today, I mention the memorial of St. Andre Bessette, which was actually yesterday. But since yesterday was Sunday, the Lord’s day, we’ll mention him today, mostly because he’s one of my job-sake patrons, as a greeter and porter. And you know what, beloved, not only is it something we can all do, just for the fun of it, just for the love of others, but we have opportunities EVERY DAY to do such simple little things (like holding open a door and greeting with a smile) that could just make someone’s day, that could change a nasty day into glorious one – that may even make 100 other people’s days, just from the one. And there’s the work of God’s Spirit in action! There is Jesus working THROUGH us to prevent evil. If enough people Believed – just imagine the extent of the goodness that would surround us all, the unfathomable extent of God’s Spirit of Love!
January 6, 2019
(The Epiphany of the Lord)
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” Mt_2:1-12
Have you seen the star, beloved? It points us to God. Where is God, you ask? He’s in that neighbor who returned your misdirected mail. He’s in that stranger who offered his place in line, so that you might get through quicker. He’s in that child who stares into your eyes looking to see if there’s compassion, joy or threat. You see, God is actually in that star. And those stars are all around us. Do we recognize Him? All it takes is a little slowing down, a little opening up, a little compassion. If we look hard enough, beloved, we might even find the love that He has placed right there within us. Where is the newborn king? Look! He’s all around us!
January 5, 2019
(St. John Neumann, Bishop)
Beloved: This is the message you have heard from the beginning: we should love one another, . . . The way we came to know love was that he laid down his life for us; so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If someone who has worldly means sees a brother in need and refuses him compassion, how can the love of God remain in him? Children, let us love not in word or speech but in deed and truth. 1_Jn_3:11-21
John, the evangelist, loves to speak about love, just as Jesus did. You see, beloved, when it really gets down to it – love is all there is (just as the Beatles sang it). And it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to learn that. Things break down, money disappears, food rots and even relationships fall apart. But love is eternal. It lifts us up. It carries us through. And it keeps us going. But it’s not the love that we expect others to give to us, it’s the love that we give to others, without expecting repayment. This ‘giving’ love should be our driving force in life. And with it, we will have that life forever, with Jesus, His Father and the Holy Spirit!
January 4, 2019
(St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Religious)
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah,” which is translated Christ. Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Cephas,” which is translated Peter. Jn_1:35-42
There’s something about names and especially nicknames that creates a feeling of belonging and a feeling of appreciation. And it’s not only people, we give names to our cars and our dogs and even those things and people we are not really fond of.
We see this character of naming all the way back to Adam, where God gave Adam the privilege of naming the animals. We also see it in God’s nicknaming of Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel, and even in His naming of the prophet Hosea’s children as lo-ruhama, meaning “Not Pitied” and lo-ammi – “Not My People.”
So it’s no surprise that today we hear Jesus giving Simon the nickname Peter. And there must have been something immediately evident about Simon that made Jesus want to call him “the Rock.” Something solid, something enduring.
And so it is, that in this first week of the New Year, we see newness. New Names, a new Teacher, new Disciples and a feeling of belonging, because just as Simon now belonged to Jesus as Peter the Rock, so we belong to 2019 as its means of being a good year or not – for the Lord and for us.
Today we commemorate the life of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. It was a life that began in the comfort of affluence, progressed through struggle, and we might say, climaxed in the tragic death of her husband through tuberculosis.
And yet it was in that climax that Elizabeth was converted from a strong Episcopalian background to becoming a Catholic. And in her new Catholic life of service, Elizabeth dauntlessly shared her faith by establishing teaching facilities for the poor and young girls in the first U.S. religious order, the Sisters of Charity. In essence, through her short life of 46-years, Elizabeth began, what has become, the Catholic School System in the U.S.
You see, beloved, regardless of what our lives may have been for 46, or 65, or 96 years – 2019 is new. Today let us claim it as ours. And together we can, with the help of Jesus, through death or life, through high water or sunshine, together, we can make 2019 be something absolutely wonderful, because every day and every breath we take is NEW in our love for God.
January 3, 2019
See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 1_Jn 2:29–3:6
Jesus told His disciples that if they had seen Him, they had seen the Father. And if they know Him, they know the Father as well. If we truly want to know God, beloved, all we need do, is get to know Jesus. He is written about throughout the old and new Testaments of our Bibles. When we carry out that simple exercise of reading, we will come to know Jesus of the past, present and future; and then, we will see His love throughout our lives and in the life of every person we come in contact with. For, John tells us that, “God IS Love” and He is within everyone. Come, let’s soar with Him!
January 2, 2019
(Ss. Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen,
Bishops and Doctors of the Church)
John the Baptist said, “I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” Jn_1:19-28
John made straight the way of those who followed him into the river for his baptism (for the repentance of sins). Jesus made straight our way to the Father through our baptism by water and the Holy Spirit. Now, beloved, it’s our turn to make straight the ways of all who know us, through our love and through our words. This “way” of Jesus is not a winding, contorted pathway. It’s the straight and narrow way of LOVE. Come, follow, and bring as many others along with you as will come.
January 1, 2019
(The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God)
The LORD said to Moses: “Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them:
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
Thus, may our loving God bless YOU as well, beloved! Through the intercession of Mary our mother and Her most beloved Son, Jesus. A very blessed and peace filled New Year to you!
Happy January, beloved!
God’s blessings always!
Please stop by and visit December’s Daily Mass Quotes too…
EARLIER MONTH’S QUOTES can be found
in monthly subcategories of – “Whispers“
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