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Do not be afraid. Just have faith. Mark 5:36

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Offer It Up April 30th


Psalm 89:2

The favors of the Lord I will sing forever, through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your faithfulness.

I needed time away from the business world; a time to be nourished by family and by God’s creation.So I retreated to the beach for three days.Sleeping in, eating good seafood, and spending hours in small talk with family can do wonders for my soul.A fresh perspective can also do wonders for my soul.Walking a windy beach allowed me to blow out the angst and concerns that had crept in.It also allowed me to find two beautiful shells; empty on the inside, but beautiful and whole on the outside.When it comes to seashells, the outside is the treasure.

It is a valuable practice at night to spend a little while revisiting sanctuaries of your lived day. Each day is a secret story woven around the radiant heart of wonder. We let our days fall away like empty shells and miss all the treasures.

John O’Donohue, A Book of Celtic Wisdom

While at the beach, I contemplated what it is about the Catholic Church that I love.I talked it through with my sister, who is not Catholic, but very receptive to my decision to join the Catholic Church.I thought about Mass last weekend.Over and over the same picture came to mind – watching the faithful partake in the Eucharist and being able to participate fully myself.There is such a peace that falls over me as I watch the Eucharist being offered, as I listen to the singing, and see each unique person moving forward to accept such a gift.

Throughout history, souls have been nourished and mellowed by simply being in the presence of the Eucharistic Christ.They begin to understand how they can become Eucharistic people; allowing themselves to be taken by Jesus, blest, broken, and distributed to others for their nourishment, passing on the gift, the wonder, and the grace of Christ.

Stephen Fitzhenry, O.P. “Qualities of a Contemplative Soul”

There is something about this Eucharistic celebration of our salvation that allows me to see the treasures of my life and of the lives that surround me.It is a gift, a treasure that I do not want to hold on to just for myself.It is a gift, a treasure that I want to share. lgboyd


Offer It Up April 29th


John 12:44-50

Jesus cried out and said,
“Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.
And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.
And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me.”

On our journey through the Easter Season we hopefully encounter Christ.
If not, perhaps it is because we have not prepared ourselves for this encounter, or, we may be avoiding the meeting. In John’s Gospel, Jesus speaks of our believing in Him, hearing Him, seeing Him and in doing this, we also are encountering the Father.


Jesus is the light of the world. His coming brings Light to humanity, human personality being the spark of divinity, in other words, Jesus came to be like us so that we could become like Him. Can we, in our spiritual walk, come to see the light that illumines all the Holy ones?


Holy! Holy! Holy! Our cry is our song of praise to the Creator, Redeemer, Guide, Lover. We find the presence of Divinity if we seek it in the everyday circumstances of life.
Easter, Ascension, Pentecost....all filled with God’s grace and invitation to enter into Divine Communion. It is our participation in the life of humanity fully alive that will help us grow in holiness.
Exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit. They can become habitual. Practice the Theological Virtues Faith, Hope and Charity.

Deacon


Offer It Up April 28th

Happy Birthday Carolyn!


Four weeks into the Easter Season and there is that settling back into routines that may or may not reflect what celebrating the Resurrection has done for our lives.

As we sample the Scriptures each day, those bits of spiritual food provided by the Church, are we allowing God to speak to our minds and hearts in a way that moves us toward a deeper understanding of truth? There are so many voices other that the voice of truth and we can be so easily led astray.

During the recent past, we have experienced some disturbing natural disasters at a seemingly increased frequency. What are we to make of this? Is it really too far a stretch to imagine God is trying to get our attention? I wonder.

Violence: There is so much. Imagine in America at the center in Chicago… 116 murders already in 2010… losses greater than in war zones for the same period of time. It continues and so close to home, we see the violence perpetrated in our own little city of Wichita Falls.

There is an answer. The wisdom lies with Truth. And for the Christian we can hear the voice of our Divine Lord: I am the Way, the Life, and the Truth. He sends the Holy Spirit to guide us to truth, and teach us to live in love that does away with sin, hatred, violence—the evil that remains at work to destroy what God has made.

Why not make a decision to spend time with the Lord of Lords this Wednesday, and each Wednesday. From noon until 8 PM, you are invited to come to Sacred Heart Church and to spend some time in the presence of Jesus, the Christ who beckons.

As John reveals in the book of Revelation..."Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone opens to me I will enter and sup with them, and they with me." It requires a decision, and the effort to be there and to still oneself in His presence. Busy schedule? Surely there is some time during one Wednesday each month when you could visit with He who has loved you to death.

Deacon


Offer It Up April 27th


Do not seek to work for Me. Never make opportunities. Live with Me and for Me. I do the work and I make the opportunities. God Calling

"I can of mine own self do nothing." John 5:30

The stress and strain of some relationships – can you feel yourself tense up just thinking about it?It’s kind of like the crocodile in the water; always there but not easily seen.And, you never know when it is going to reach up to get you.You can feel like all is well one minute, and in an instant everything changes.Someone is in trouble or someone is mad at you and you didn’t see it coming or someone has disappointed you with their lack of care or concern.

Suddenly you are at odds with someone or you feel like they’ve deserted you and left you holding the ball.Now what?Something I’ve learned recently is that it is usually best to not instantly react.In a spirit of prayer and discernment, wait and see what opportunity the Holy Spirit guides you into.Let Him do the work; let Him create the opportunity to right the wrong or aid someone in distress.That doesn’t mean we just sit around and wait for the sky to fall.Instead, we calmly allow our “Spirit-consciousness” to guide us rather than fretting and running around to fix things, or even worse, allowing anger or frustration to take over.

It is the most amazing experience to be in the midst of some kind of turmoil, but be fully at rest in Him.lgboyd

I am beside you. Can you not feel My Presence? Contact with Me is not gained by the senses. Spirit-consciousness replaces sight.God Calling

"And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest."

Exodus 33:14


Offer It Up April 26th


Acts 9:1-20

Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him
for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, that, if he should find any men or women who belonged to the Way,
he might bring them back to Jerusalem in chains.
On his journey, as he was nearing Damascus, a light from the sky suddenly flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
He said, “Who are you, sir?”
The reply came, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city and you will be told what you must do.”
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, for they heard the voice but could see no one.
Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing; so they led him by the hand and brought him to Damascus. For three days he was unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.

There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias, and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.”
He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight and ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is there praying, and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, that he may regain his sight.”
But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.”
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and children of Israel, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.”
So Ananias went and entered the house; laying his hands on him, he said, “Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me, Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came, that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. He got up and was baptized, and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.

He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus, and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Who has been your Ananias? Who has been one to remove from your eyes whatever it was that was keeping you from seeing the truth? How many have played that role for you? Have you been in that role for someone else? Imagine his shock to be called to evangelize to such a treacherous man. Yet, there he went, doing as instructed by the Lord.

Maybe there have been enough times in our lives that we’ve been knocked down a few notches if not just flat on our backsides to know what it’s like to be unable to respond intelligently to what is going on around us. Maybe we’ve been blind and deaf as well to what God has been trying to get us to understand. Not a pleasant scene to say the least. Imagine the audacious sublimity of it all as Saul was on his ‘persecution promenade’ only to be knocked down and blinded by the light and then having to be led around for three days—and going hungry and thirsty at that.

Maybe we should be so hungry and thirsty. So ‘blind’ for awhile to see what it is or who we need in our lives. Maybe it is time for an Ananias to make their way into our life to be the one to help us see the truth that’s been missing. Maybe when we recognize the Truth God has for us, we may do like Paul, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and do more of our own proclaiming of the Good News, that Jesus is indeed the Son of God.


Offer It Up April 25th


The Knots Prayer

Submitted by Reno V.


Offer It Up April 24th


John 6:60-65

Then many of his disciples who were listening said, "This saying is hard; who can accept it?"

Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, "Does this shock you?

What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?

It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

But there are some of you who do not believe." Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.

And he said, "For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father."

Once you have drunk of the wine of My giving, the Life Eternal, all earth's attempts to quench your thirst will fail.

Maybe that’s what the disciples were dealing with that day-once they had the fullness of what Jesus had for them, His Eternal Life, those that recognized His Truth wanted to go on with that faith. The others? Well, we can’t speak for them other than to say ‘they no longer walked with Him.’ That was then. This is now.

Someone asked recently if it was within reason to be peaceful and joyful while experiencing some sadness, all at the same time. With respect to all who go through the gamut of emotions or even part of it on a daily basis, I would venture to say it is. There are conditions in our lives that bring us joy as we grow and those same changes can be seen with some sadness too as we leave behind some things of our old self and move on to a newer and better self. What we see of the Greater Light with its joy and magnitude also brings with it more clarity and definition of what we see while being in the Light-things of the Heavenly Kingdom against those things of here on earth.

For me, I can see the joy and peace of what is there waiting in the Eternal Peace beyond here. It’s dealing with life here on a daily basis that brings about the hassles and the sadness… yup, quite the conundrum: how to get beyond the mundane, earthly trappings into the peace that Eternity offers. If they are heavy in my life-sins, forgiveness, being judgemental, language-you can't ignore them. They won't just go away. We are brought more into His Light to see more of what He can do for us.

And with more light, we can see our way more clearly. We don’t stop, we don’t give up, even though a ‘detour’ may happen to arise farther on our path. Even if our plans don’t fit His, we will continue to walk with Him, all the while letting our old selves die while our new selves take on a brighter, more peaceful journey with God.

John 6: 66-69

As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"

Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God."


Offer It Up April 23rd


I wish you enough

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

“I Wish You Enough!” 2001 Bob Perks


Offer It Up April 22nd


Are you aware that the Holy Spirit dwells in you? We are repeatedly reminded in the Scriptures that we are chosen and that we are temples of the Holy Spirit. In baptism we received the gift of God, grace upon grace, to enable us to live as children of the Most High God.


God's Word came to assure us that when we give ourselves to Him in faith, believing that he is the Son of God who came to give us life, God dwells in us and will share with us life to the full.


Rising each morning from sleep, we realize that the creator God has chosen us to be His witness to those who will touch our life this day. What does that mean except that with the help of the Lord we can learn to love as we are loved, to allow the light of Christ to illumine our minds, our thoughts, our bodily actions, our speech ...we are to lead HOLY lives.
Holiness to be in Christ, to enjoy all that God has given us to mold us into HIS likeness.
With each breath this day may the Holy Spirit fill my being with all I need to reflect the overwhelming love of God to all who enter into my tiny corner of the universe.

Deacon


Offer It Up April 21st


John 6:47-51

Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life.

Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."

I am the Bread of Life...

In Chapter 6 of John's gospel, Jesus gives his long discourse on the bread of life. When he spoke these words they were controversial to say the least. And, I wonder are they not still controversial? We who feed on the Eucharist frequently, how do we respond really to the bread of life, Jesus?

I can truly look within and really look to my own motives and reactions to this great mystery. With all that I am I believe that I am being fed on the body and blood of Jesus the Christ.
That as he promised He is always with us. Especially in the Eucharist Jesus fulfills his promises of remaining with us always.
Habit, receiving Christ in the Eucharist daily...do we sometimes begin to take the Lord for granted?

Do we go through routines motions without awareness of the awesomeness, the wonder of it all?

God, Jesus the Christ giving himself forever to transform our lives that we may share in the life of God forever. The constant unfolding of this mystery is truly amazing, it is God's gift will we be humble enough to accept it and receive it.
This morning a brother in Christ commented on the evils in the world. He is right. But the HOPE of the world is Jesus and the life he is offering to all who believe and trust in Him.


Come and See...he said to the early disciples...and still he says to you and to me.

Come and See.
Truly I am the Bread of Life.

Deacon


Offer It Up April 20th


1 Peter 4:10

As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.

Use Your Gifts

God has given us all many gifts. These gifts are good and were given to us in order to spread the Good News of the Gospel. These gifts or talents are a part of who we are and, if used properly, who God wants us to be. Many of us boast about our successes, about what we have accomplished and about the great decisions that we have made, when in reality, without our God-given talents, none of that would have been possible. Yet, these talents are given to us to use, no matter how great or insignificant we believe them to be. You see, if God has given us a talent to use, we show our selfish nature if we don’t use them. We justify our “non-use” of these talents by saying, “It’s not much of a talent.” Or, “Somebody else is probably better at it than me.”

All of this may be true, but God may want to use you to touch a certain individual. He may want use your precious gifts in order to plant the seed for more growth. Your simple talent may be the leaven that will spread to and through many. Who you are, with your talents and shortcomings, might be the vessel in which God’s message is carried to the world. Who are you to prevent that message from being heard?

There is the story of the 4 year old boy who wanted to draw a picture for his dad. Now, this is a true story. Well, I think I need to qualify “true story” before I go any farther. You see, years ago, every story I told I would start with, “This is a true story.” Now, believe it or not, some of the stories were not quite totally true. Some of them could have never been considered to be true. But, there were those who believed they were true, just because….well…they didn’t know me very well. Several years ago, as I was going through diaconate formation, I began to realize that I needed to be careful how I started stories. So now, what I do is categorize them: just so that those that I tell the story to can understand the truthfulness of the story. There are true stories, stories that could be true, parts of stories that are true and then those stories that simply call upon your imagination. Any way, the main idea is to relate the story to the Scripture message.

Well, let me get back to the story about the 4 year old who wanted to draw a picture for his dad. The 4 year, his name is Mason, went to work with his dad on a Saturday morning. Mason’s dad is the plant manager and would go into work on Saturday’s in order to finish up on some weekly paperwork, and if the plant was open on that particular Saturday, he could help oversee the operations, for Saturdays were usually a light work day.

Well, here you have this 4 year old boy, really bored, as 4 year olds can be. So, seeing how bored Mason was and to prevent him from going around the office touching anything and everything, Mason’s dad asked him to draw him a picture. Mason was excited about this and he proceeded to draw the picture. First, he drew mom and dad, some kind of stick figures with a green marker. Then, he drew a yellow sun in the sky with sunbeams. Then, he added some special things, like another yellow circle in the sky and a green circle between the stick figures of mom and dad. But Mason thought that it needed something else, so he asked his dad what else he could draw. His dad asked Mason to draw a cow. Mason picked his green marker and proceeded to draw a cow. But after a couple of seconds, Mason looked up at his dad and said, “Daddy, I don’t know how to draw a cow.” So, Mason’s dad said, “Well, then, draw me a dog.” Mason picked his green marker up again and proceeded to draw a dog. Once again, after a couple of seconds, Mason looked up at his dad and said, “Daddy, I don’t know how to draw a dog.”

Mason’s dad smiled at him and asked Mason, “What do you know how to draw?” Mason thought for a second and said, “Why don’t I draw and ‘M’?” His name being Mason, he knew how to draw an M. Mason’s dad smiled and nodded approval. So, Mason finished off the picture by drawing an M and proudly handed the picture to his dad. Mason’s dad told him how proud he was of the picture and, to this day, has that picture under the glass top of his desk at work.

Mason wanted to do something to please his father. He wanted to use the talent he had, albeit insignificant to some, but precious to his father.

How are we responding to God, our Father? Do we want to please Him in what we do? Do we shy away from using our talents that God has given us, or do want to use our gifts to show God’s goodness and spread the Good News? However limited our talents may seem to us, do we want to use them to please God, our Father, as Mason used his limited talents to please his father?

The next time you have the urge to brag about your successes, stop and thank God for that success. The next time you feel so proud of your accomplishments, consider the gifts that God has given you in order attain those results. Deacon Jim

2 Corinthians 10:17-18

“"Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord." For it is not the one

who recommends himself who is approved, but the one whom

the Lord recommends.


Offer It Up April 19th


John 6:22-29

After Jesus had fed the five thousand men, his disciples saw him walking on the sea. The next day, the crowd that remained across the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not gone along with his disciples in the boat, but only his disciples had left. Other boats came from Tiberias near the place where they had eaten the bread when the Lord gave thanks.
When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. And when they found him across the sea they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”

This third week of the Easter Season begins with a gospel that may cause of to reflect on our own lives in the light of the apostle’s experience after the Resurrection. Back to the fishing boats even though they had seen the Lord twice! Are we tempted after the Lenten fast and the Good News of the resurrection to jettison all the advances we made during Lent in moving ahead spiritually, and go back to our "old" ways?


He truly is Risen! There is hope aplenty in the fact that the Risen Lord remains at the right hand of the Father and rules over all. At least, in human terms over all who give themselves to Him and are willing to seek to live as His disciple, conforming their lives to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.


It is a time for immersing ourselves in the Act of the Apostles and the Gospels and deepening our understanding of who we are as citizens of the Kingdom, Temples of the Holy Spirit, and witnesses to God's presence in all we do under the leading of the Holy Spirit. Prayer is as necessary to our spiritual life as breathing to our biological life.

Praise God from Whom all blessing flow.

Deacon


Offer It Up April 18th


Proverbs 3:21-24

…let not these slip out of your sight: keep advice and counsel in view;

So will they be life to your soul, and an adornment for your neck.

Then you may securely go your way; your foot will never stumble;

When you lie down, you need not be afraid, when you rest, your sleep will be sweet.

Have you ever been so physically tired that you felt you could probably sleep for 24 hours straight? Maybe the stress from work, from family or someplace else had challenged your senses to keep you from getting the rest you needed.Maybe you’ve just been so busy with life that you somewhat casually realized, ‘oh, my body needs some rest.’ Or maybe it was the choices you made in your life that kept you doing what you were doing in the first place… driven to success, you just keep pressing on, regardless of what the body tells you. Where do you find that strength, that third or fourth wind, to keep it going?

From a movie, don’t know which one, a line was attributed to Sam Elliott, “I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead.’ A friend of mine says he ‘stole’ it from her, as she claimed to have coined it years ago. Giving credit to both as it is a great quote, maybe she or he will and maybe we will too. But for now, we can count on the Holy Spirit to fill our sails and be that ‘lift’ we need. As we tire both physically and mentally, our spiritual guard can also be let down, allowing that bit of an entry for satan to enter at a weak moment. We can succumb to that what he tempts us with or we can call upon the Holy Spirit to lift us free from his grabby and grubby little hands.

For as satan works that way, so does God, (and obviously hugely better), bringing us to our own point of ‘absolute least resistance’ so He can better mold us as He wants us to be. We may not be able to see or understand His will while we are fully charged and plugged in to the world’s circuit. But when our batteries start running down and the way ahead still seems like a long way to go, we have to make better us of the energy we have left. And who better to help us recharge and come alive again than our God and Father?

As the quote noted, maybe we will get all that rest we need when we die. But until then, let’s be open to what God has for us now so that we can stay fully in His grace, living by and with the power of His Love.


Offer It Up April 17th


Psalm 27:14

Wait for the LORD with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.

Have you bumped up against anyone lately because you couldn’t see things the same way?How did it go?

We have several choices when disagreements happen, whether they happen in our personal or professional lives.We can run and hide, we can blast them out of the water with our frustration and anger, we can argue until the cows come home, we can just give in, or…we can take courage and love the person.Wait, what?

My protecting Power is yours…I can never fail one who trusts in Me…you can breathe in courage from My Presence as you breathe in air.GC

It takes courage to deal with unpleasant situations.It takes courage to stand your ground if you are certain you need to.It also takes courage to admit when you are wrong or had the wrong perspective or that you weren’t listening like you should have.It takes courage to confront or be confronted with love and forgiveness as our guiding forces.But, if we trust God to give us wisdom to do the right thing, then we can breathe in courage from Him to see the situation through to the end. lgboyd

Lo, my children, you see that where God is there can be no lack of forgiveness, for that is really lack of love.GC


Offer It Up April 16th


Acts 5:34-42

A Pharisee in the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, respected by all the people, stood up, ordered the Apostles to be put outside for a short time, and said to the Sanhedrin, “Fellow children of Israel, be careful what you are about to do to these men. Some time ago, Theudas appeared, claiming to be someone important, and about four hundred men joined him, but he was killed, and all those who were loyal to him
were disbanded and came to nothing. After him came Judas the Galilean at the time of the census. He also drew people after him, but he too perished and all who were loyal to him were scattered. So now I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God.”
They were persuaded by him. After recalling the Apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Christ, Jesus.

Do you think Gamaliel knew the score, what was really going on with Peter and John and the rest of the Apostles? Do you think he had seen enough to be convinced that what they were doing was more than they, the Sanhedrin, or anyone else for that cause, could do much or anything about? He gave a good message, as they were convinced that much of nothing would come of what the Apostles had to share. And if it did, well, that would another story.

He did some ‘dancing’ with his eloquence yet he came back to state that they could or would actually be ‘fighting against God.’ So many of the others had come and gone, yet something about these guys had made him put the qualifier out there about their evangelization and mission. They could be the real deal this time. And the Apostles relished the position they were in.

They said bring it on… let the floggings begin, all for the sake and glory of His name! How many of us would do the same? How do we see ourselves like that when others come before us and challenge our own beliefs? To put us to the test, to see where we stand… and how we stand and what we are to stand for? Do we ‘bring it on’ when it would be easier to pass it up? Not that we need to go looking for trouble or suffering but when it happens, we can be like the Apostles and stand for what we believe. We too can preach and proclaim from our homes and from our churches the Good News, The Word, Jesus Christ.


Offer It Up April 15th


John 3:31-36

The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony.
Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him.

It’s easy to see the daily black and white choices we have, the good and bad, the simple or difficult, the right and wrong things to do. The choices are easy for most, really, from the time we wake up—do I or don’t I want to do this today?—to what to wear, to what to eat, to what route to take to work or look for work, what that case may be. Lots of low hanging fruit out there to pick from. Those types of choices are not the type that typically keep us from following God’s way, those choices that give us cause to pause, if not for distinction then maybe at least for discernment.

What gets the heart racing and the mind jumbling are the choices and the subsequent decisions that are not so clearly defined. Those opportunities that present themselves in that area of our brains that allow us to see them as ‘okay’ orat the least ‘interesting’ even if there is some part of the opportunity that says do not touch, run away, danger, or in some cases, what in the world are/were you thinking? Our minds wander from what we have come to know as the truth for just that instant, choosing from what the world sees as good instead of what God has planned for us as good, as His Divine Truth.

Who or what way we choose to follow, who or which rules we choose to obey, will make those types of calls easier to make. His will for us becomes clearer as do our choices—one goes with the other. The way of the world? Well, we’ve all experienced that at various times and have the scars to show from it… how did that work for us then or how has that worked for us up this point?

Acts 5:29

But Peter and the apostles said in reply, "We must obey God rather than men.

We can live our lives with the thought that what we do has no bearing on where we end up after we die and take our chances. Or we can live them with God at the center of them every day and remove all doubt.

John 3:36

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life.


Offer It Up April 14th


John 3:16-21

God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.
And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light,
because their works were evil.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

How much stock do we put into the love of the world? How much of what we have do we count on being around tomorrow? We don’t know that we will always have the next day or hour, but what we do have is now. And what we do with it is His offer to us to live as He would like for us to live.

God sent us His Son to save us. From John 3:16, we have heard countless times and it never, ever falls on deaf ears. Yet we do find ourselves putting our trust and hope in the things we have here on earth and not on things that are unconditional and eternal, those that we find in God’s Love for us. There is no other Love as His.

As much as we are in love with and love our spouses, our family, our friends and love our neighbors, there is no love that can compare or will compare to the Love we find and hold in the Love God has for us. He did not come to bring us pain and suffering, though that is part of the deal some of the time, He came to bring us closer to Him through the pain and suffering. These things will pass; His Love will endure forever. We know this as believers who look to Him to be saved.

In His Faith. In His Light. In His Love. Every day.


Offer It Up April 13th


A priest once asked a group of children “What is Jesus’ mobile phone number?” Quick as a flash, one little girl replied, while making the Sign of the Cross, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

The Sign of the Cross: it reminds us of the Trinity and of the Cross.

The Sign of the Cross: it reminds us of Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel: “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”

The Sign of the Cross: it reminds us of God’s love for us.

The Sign of the Cross: it gives us courage and strength to face the difficulties of life.

Many Christians wear a Cross around their neck or on their clothing — to show that they belong to Jesus; to show that Jesus is their Lord; to witness to Jesus.

Dear Jesus, thank you for being lifted up on the cross. May more and more Christians lift you up for our society by wearing a cross each day. May your holy Cross give all Christians, especially people in China, courage and strength for each day.

www.jesuit.org.sg


Offer It Up April 12th


Yesterday, Divine Mercy Sunday, marked the end of the Octave of Easter. However, the Easter season continues through the feast of Pentecost. This is a time rich in the Scriptures that provide us with a view of the Early Church. Those days of bold proclamation in the face of persecution.

It is no different for us today. We begin by having our sins washed away in the waters of Baptism; we are fed on the flesh of the God-man, and recover in the sacrament of Reconciliation. Each day we rise to the summon of the Risen Lord to live as His witness to love and truth, to be his presence in a world still being assailed by forces which long to destroy all that would be the Lord's.

This day, I place and commend my whole being to the Lord, hoping His plan is that I have a new day coming. When I rise in the morning I turn to Him and seek His grace to make me aware of His being always present and ask that he open my sense that I may know him and respond to Him.

My Lord you come in so many ways into my life, I must seek and beg for your mercy and forgiveness for the numberless time I fail to know you. Give me eyes and a heart that will respond to those so in need of recognition and love. Grant me, Lord, the grace I need to respond and enter into the World of those I meet, those I am too willing to scurry past when I see them.

Lord, make us your instruments!

Deacon


Offer It Up April 11th


Holding On and Letting Go

Psalm 131:2

I have stilled and quieted my soul like a weaned child.

Like a weaned child on its mother’s lap so is my soul within me.

Even though it sounds impossible, there is a way to hold on and to let go at the same time.A weaned child sits on its mother’s lap with knowledge of the good food mother used to provide directly from her body and soul.But now this child is content to just sit and enjoy the communion with mother in a new and different way.

So it is with our relationship with God.As our relationship and intimacy with God grows, so does our ability to pray and commune with God in a new and different way.Prayer can take on many forms, with supplication or requesting something from God as the most common.Prayer does not always have to be in the form of a request.It can something as simple as meditating and reflecting on God’s love, purity and goodness.It can be a song of praise and thanksgiving for what He has already done in our lives, rather than what we would like Him to do.

And that is where the holding on and letting go at the same time comes in.When we blend all of our ways of praying together, we can hold on to God’s love, purity and goodness, we can sing a song of praise and thanksgiving to Him, and then we can make our requests known to Him by asking and letting go of the outcome.There is no doubt that when we pray a request to God, there will be an outcome.It just may not be the outcome you and I are expecting.But when we let go, waiting for the outcome is a much more exciting and fulfilling experience because it is the experience that God wants for us. lgboyd

“Be open to outcome, not attached to outcome.”

The Four-fold Way by Angeles Arrien


Offer It Up April 10th


Mark 16:25

Proclaim the Gospel to Every Creature. . . .

Luke 24:36

While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst.

St. Francis had practiced it and left it with us in a few words…preach the Gospel and if necessary, use words. And we do this because we love our God and want to share what we have with others. He told us to do that and we want to do that so that is what we do. And we do it because we are believers, not because we have to.

The two scripture verses above are from a couple of recent daily Gospel readings. If we compare/contrast them, we can find ourselves thinking about this: wherever it is that we take His Word, there He is. So as we proclaim and live our lives according to His will for us, all the while living and proclaiming the Gospel, will He not be standing in our midst? Just as the disciples sat, stood or groused about, there He was in theirs. Quite unexpectedly.

It is our nature to think for ourselves first. Yet we all try to move beyond that and to put others first as this life is truly not about us. The more we put forth that effort, the more we can become more Christ-like in our lives, having the Gospel preached through the way we live, not just through the way we talk. The more we practice it, the less surprised we will be as He makes Himself more visible in our lives and those around us. That is some really Good News.


Offer It Up April 9th


Acts 4:1-12

After the crippled man had been cured, while Peter and John were still speaking to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple guard, and the Sadducees confronted them, disturbed that they were teaching the people
and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They laid hands on Peter and John and put them in custody until the next day, since it was already evening.
But many of those who heard the word came to believe and the number of men grew to about five thousand.

On the next day, their leaders, elders, and scribes were assembled in Jerusalem, with Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly class. They brought them into their presence and questioned them, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders: If we are being examined today about a good deed done to a cripple, namely, by what means he was saved, then all of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazorean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed.
He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.

There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”

Peter and John were doing their work, their ministry, spreading the Good News of Christ. The numbers were pretty amazing; three thousand, five thousand… small wonder the high priests and Sadducees had had their fill of them and wanted to hear what these two had to say. Peter and John were being challenged on the works and words they were carrying out as disciples and people were being converted and if something wasn’t done quickly…

Maybe John and Peter were not understood in their evangelization as we understand The Word today. Maybe those that were not following them could not or would not grasp the wonder of their miracles or the power of the Resurrection. Maybe they just didn’t know any better than to ignore what they could not understand… people walking that had not walked,seeing that had not seen, and then you want me to believe someone died and three days later came back to see you and ate a meal with you? All for my eternal salvation? Hhmmm…

If they had trouble then, what of our trouble believing it today? More information, more witnessing, more of those that believe in what we believe. Yet here we are still in a world where there are those that doubt and those that want to believe something different, something that fits their world. Maybe that’s what it is—the fitting part.

We tend to reject or dismiss what we don’t get or understand. As it was with the disciples, it didn’t ‘fit’ that someone could see or walk after being that way for so long. It didn’t ‘fit’ that Jesus could die on the cross, be dead for three days and come back. And if that didn’t fit, how was it going to fit that He was to be their salvation?

The fact is, as He was then, He is now.

He is the Way, the Truth and the Light.

The Cornerstone.

The more we go to Him in prayer and thanksgiving, the more we can grasp His love for us. We are all healed and cleansed from and by Him.

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God for it is right

to give Him thanks and praise.


Offer It Up April 8th


Luke 24:36-39

While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you."

But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost.

Then he said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?

Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have."

I was reading another reflection and saw this question posed: How close do we want God to get?

That piece went on to say that it is uncomfortable, even scary, for some to think about God getting closer in their lives, as the disciples had allowed, especially when we don’t expect Him to be so close, so present—so very much here and now in their daily living and in ours. Even after the time they had spent with Him, Jesus had returned just as He had told them. Yet there was still the disbelief.

Maybe if it were posed another way, if we were asked: How close do we want to allow ourselves to get close to God? That in itself is a bit of a non-challenge or issue because God will get as close as He wants to get. But with and from the gift of free will, its how much we let Him in our lives that is up to us. God will go to any length to save a soul. He will use any measure to bring back one who is lost. He will use sinners as well as saints to bring light into darkness. We are all worthy of His saving grace as were the disciples when He came back to them.

And like the disciples, the closer we get to God, the more we become aware of who we really are. That is the uncomfortable scary part. That is when we find out that even though there is more saving light for us, with that light we can see more clearly those out of the way, cobwebbed corners, under the rug areas where we have fallen short of our faith and trust in God. And that is good news in itself because God is there to bring us closer, as close as we can believe, to Him, to clear out the cobwebs and dust of our ‘hidden past’. Trust that He can make all things right and all things clean. All it takes is a closer, more trusting and believing, walk with Him.


Offer It Up April 7th


Luke 24:25-26

And he said to them, “Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”

How foolish all of us are from time to time, if not pretty much all the time, to put our doubts and worries in front of our hope and faith? Just as the disciples had the news of His being risen from the dead, and on some pretty good authority, they still were a bit on the apprehensive side to go all in and say that He had in fact done so.

Our lives can be somewhat like the hesitancy of the disciples, not being sure what to believe, even as Jesus walked with them. Just as we learn more of our faith and become closer to knowing God’s will for us, what do we often do?

‘You want me to do what—be a priest/go on a mission trip/…?’

‘We’re way too old/not ready to be pregnant!’

‘But I really need a job now!’

Those are a few of the responses you may have heard or even spoken yourself. And in hindsight, they do sound a bit foolish as we learn more of handing our lives and will over to God, living a life of faith and love for Him, not for a world here but for one eternally. As Christ did suffer, we too will have our suffering, our pain, our hardships. Comparatively, some may be worse than others we know. Just know this: there for the grace of God, we must all go. So do just that. Wherever you go, make sure you go with Him.


Offer It Up April 6th


John 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.

Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he had told her.

What would you have told the others had it been you the one to go back and say “He’s back!”

Surely Mary went and did as she was instructed yet there had to be some wonderment on her way back to tell them, some sort of divine awe that may have enveloped her, as she tried to make sense of what had happened. Two angels… a ‘gardener’ talking to her… thinking others had plotted some sort of conspiracy to hide His body… and her name was spoken and she knew then that Jesus had returned.

What does it take for us to know that He has come back for us? Will it take an angel or two, maybe more? Maybe it might be a gardener that will have something to say to us that will be the one to open our eyes and ears to know for sure that He has done what He said He was going to do. Maybe it might a friend or a family member sent by that ‘gardener’, that seed planter, the one who prunes branches of the vines.

It may even be a nobody, a person we may not even know. A person we pass on the street or that one we choose to ignore. We will see the Lord in all of us, in all those we meet, in all those who meet us. As we look for Him in others, are others seeing Him in us?

1 John 2:3-6

The way we may be sure that we know him is to keep his commandments.

Whoever says, "I know him," but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

But whoever keeps his word, the love of God is truly perfected in him. This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to live just as he lived.


Offer It Up April 5th


Matthew 28:8-13, 15

Filled with awe and great joy the women came quickly away from the tomb and ran to tell his disciples. And suddenly, coming to meet them, was Jesus. ‘Greetings,’ he said. And the women came up to him and, clasping his feet, they did him homage. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; there they will see me.’

Now while they were on their way, some of the guards went off into the city to tell the chief priests all that had happened. These held a meeting with the elders and, after some discussion, handed a considerable sum of money to the soldiers with these instructions, ‘This is what you must say, “His disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep.” So they took the money and carried out their instructions, and to this day that is the story among the Jews.

Still experiencing the wonder and beauty of His return, of His doing what He said He was going to do, there He was in their midst, calling to them a greeting, telling them to not be afraid and to go further to tell others of where they could see Him. Yes, it is true; He has returned and He is calling us to follow Him and to meet with Him.

Today, we still get that a lot, especially every weekend, when we are called to return to our congregations to take part in our mass, our services, our celebrations, to further share and hear The Word. And why not do so? Why not take every opportunity to have more of Jesus Christ in our lives? Why would we not jump at the chance as did the disciples to go follow him to Galilee to see more for themselves what He had to tell them?

Unfortunately, there are those that still have their own agendas with Jesus’ return, as did the chief priests and guards. Some choose not to believe in His Life, Death and Resurrection. And if they do, they have their own slant on what it should mean. That’s their choice. Our choice and our ministry is to continue to be disciples to The Word and The Word made Flesh. The word we share, our message, is a powerful one in that it does change lives. There are plenty of them out there waiting to be changed. The next one might even be yours.


Offer It Up April 4th

Easter Sunday


I Corinthians 5:6-8

Brothers and sisters:

Do you not know that a little yeast leavens all the dough? Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough, inasmuch as you are unleavened.

For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed.

Therefore, let us celebrate the feast, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Eternal glory.

Some believers ask why a crucifix.

Some ask why an empty cross.

Some believe it is about perspective.

Some believe it is about faith.

With Christianity, it is perspective and faith. A ‘both-and’, not an ‘either-or.’

Our eternal glory, our salvation is from believing that God sent His only Son to die for our sins.

He did that on the cross.

He did so for the Love of the world, not just then but for eternity. For the souls then and today.

It was not an event for two thousand years ago, for those that were there.

It is an event, His life, death and Resurrection that brings us all to new life, every day. Our choice.

Free will.

With Easter, we are reminded emotionally of Christ’s pain He suffered in the Garden.

With Easter, we recall graphically the brutality of Christ’s suffering for us.

With Easter, we rise with Him again in our salvation.

Crucifix.

Empty cross.

We bear them just the same.

Just as He was on His cross, He will share our own crosses, our suffering and our pain.

May this Easter season be a time for us all to live more fully and deeply with the power and glory of God’s gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

db

John 20:1-9

On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.
So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them,
“They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”
So Peter and the other disciple went out and came to the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in.
When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.


Offer It Up April 3rd

Holy Saturday


Luke 24:1-3

But at daybreak on the first day of the week they took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.

They found the stone rolled away from the tomb; but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

Are you tired of waiting yet? Tired of waiting for this Lenten practice to be over? Or is your patience better than it was when Lent began? To give it some more thought, the waiting we go through and the patience we practice is what Lent is all about. What we do differently during the forty days, from fasting to giving something up to doing something in addition to what we don’ usually find ourselves doing—in a positive manner of course—to even the services during Holy Week… waiting, how-much-longer-is-this-going-to-last?

Then you see a light, maybe the light at the end of the tunnel, maybe a light to lead you home. And there is your hope. And that hope is our reason for our waiting. The hope in His Resurrection. We fill ourselves with more hope and the faith that He left for us on the cross as we prepare to sing out for His return. He went to make a place for us and now He is coming back to lead us to it.

It might be that your wait is nothing but a few days or weeks or even months of sacrifice. For others, their entire lives have been filled with pain, suffering and grief of one sort or another. Regardless of your wait, now is the time to let God’s Love continue His way into our hearts and lives. Let this Easter be the time to see, to feel, to know how His Resurrection means new life for us all. It’s a promise of and for a lifetime.db


Offer It Up April 2nd

Good Friday


John 19:25-27

Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”

Then he said to the disciple,

“Behold, your mother.”

And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

No small order this was.

The One you have come to follow is now at the point of death and puts His mother’s life in your hands? I wonder if John looked at it that way. If he knew that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, then he had to know that his mother then… well, you can figure it out. It is what we have come to know today, what was known hundreds of years ago: Mary is the Mother of God.


How did he do it then? What did he think? What did she think? They had to be well beyond the thinking stage. They were obviously where God wanted them as they were feeling the Love God had sent for them, even in the suffering that was there at the foot of the cross at which they stood and knelt. They were to share His mission and care for one another just as we are to do when we go to the cross with our burdens and our suffering and our loved ones.

Where do we find God’s Love for us today? Can we find it even in the rough spots of our own lives? Can we find it even in the pain and suffering we may experience from time to time… from week to week… day to day…. Even hour to hour it may seem? His Love is eternally there just as it was at—and on— the cross the day His Son died. What would make it any different for us? As Jesus had Mary there for John and John there for His mother, we too can have them there for us in prayer. Just as we ask for the support of prayer from someone else, we can ask for the intercession of prayer from all the saints, yes, even from the Mother of God. I don’t know about you but I could stand all the help I can get.

For all He has given us to deepen our faith and to show His Love for us, we must also know that through all we experience, including the suffering, He is and always will be there. Let us pray throughout the Easter season to further see His way and will for us. db


Offer It Up April 1st

Holy Thursday


John 13:1-8

Before the feast of Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to pass from this world to the Father. He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.

The devil had already induced Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, to hand him over. So, during supper, fully aware that the Father had put everything into his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God, he rose from supper and took off his outer garments. He took a towel and tied it around his waist.

Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and dry them with the towel around his waist. He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Master, are you going to wash my feet?"

Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing, you do not understand now, but you will understand later."

Peter said to him, "You will never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me."

How often does it happen that we find ourselves in a situation like Peter found himself? Not so much as in having our feet washed but in situations we ‘do not understand now’ but ‘will understand later?’ There were a lot of things the disciples and the rest of Jesus’ followers weren’t ‘getting’, yet that didn’t keep them—most of them—from doing as He said and spreading His mission.

Our lives are daily examples of situations, experiences, conversations—of events we may not even be conscious of at the time they happen. Random phone calls, out-of-the-blue visits, where-in-the-world-did-that-come-from thank you card… even the other side of it as well: illnesses, job loss, and even death. As painful or as joyous an occasion it may be, at some point God will make it clear His purpose for that event in our life. On His time, not ours.

Maybe this Lenten season has been one of great transformation for you. Maybe you’ve struggled and haven’t seen the growth you’ve wanted to see. God sees what you want done. He knows your heart and where you want to go with it. Let Him do with you as He needs to now, even if you don’t quite ‘get it’. He promises He will make it clear to you later. db