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

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Offer It Up!   December 31, 2013

Today’s Gospel Meditation focuses on Jn 1:1 and 9-18.  It clearly affirms that the Word is God, the Word is Light for All, and the Word became Flesh.  For those who believe, it can get no clearer than this!  The Word of God is God and The Word is Light… 

 

In our humanness, many have proven that it is possible to “exist” without power of verbal and written communication and/or the presence of light (sight)…..  Some of these have been very remarkable people in their tenacity….  But, did they CHOOSE to exist in this difficult state of muteness or blindness?   Surely not!  So, why would we, as believers in God, choose to NOT abide in His Word which is Him and, as importantly, is a beacon of hope to see what lays in store for those who pray and meditate upon Him! 

 

May the Lord (as Word) reveal to me the areas in my life upon which I truly need to shed His Light!  May we READ HIM as our earthly time transitions to a New Year!

Paul B.




Offer It Up!   December 30, 2013

The Christmas Season continues as we walk first with St Stephen as we reflect on His Martyrdom on December 26th.  His feast day spotlights the fullness of discipleship so soon after the birth of the Babe, Jesus Christ.

 

On the 27th, we run with Saint John to the tomb. Peter is trailing behind breathing hard and catching his breath. When we arrive at the empty tomb we look in but do not enter until we allow Peter to catch up and enter first. 

 

On the 28th, we look on with horror as Herod sends soldiers into Bethlehem and slaughters the male infants as he anticipates with fear the news of the Babe born under the Star of Bethlehem.

 

On the 29th, we hear of the Holy Family, the feast that beckons us to reflect on what it means to be family. The Trinity signals us to love as the family from Nazareth models family life for all. And forever in the history of the Church, she has always held high the value of family life. 

 

As we move forward in this 21st century, the mission of the Church to evangelize also reminds us of communion and family, not only our biological family but the family of the Church. We as children of God, brothers and sisters, have been taught by Jesus himself to call God, Our Father. Can we resolve to revitalize family life? During the remainder of this Christmas Season could we not look within and repent of our sins and firmly resolve to amend our lives, and renew our families?

Deacon

 
 


Offer It Up!    December 29, 2013

Colossians 3:12-17

Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

 

Though we may hear it often, some may say even too often, it is so very true that we are all called to love and be loved with heartfelt compassion as we progress on our path toward holiness. As with many things in our lives, the previous is easier read and said than done. For that is the challenge in the letting go of the issues and grievances we carry with us.


As much as we want the peace of Christ within us, we also want our share of justice and sometimes even a bit of revenge. How much easier would it be to let it go, with forgiveness and with love, just as we have been and are forgiven by Jesus Christ and by others? As we do, we are putting ourselves in a better position to ‘let the peace of Christ control your heart, the peace into which you were also called in one body.’


That’s where our gratitude becomes evident. Deep within we experience His love and outwardly we show our thanks by the way we express the gifts He has given us. Through His grace and mercy, neither of which we deserve of course, as God gives only because of His love for us—there truly is no way to earn it. Yet on we go, giving and doing and being all in His most holy name. That is one of the best ways we can show our gratefulness for everything we have from Him.




Offer It Up!   December 28, 2013

1 John 1:5-2-2

This is the message that we have heard from Jesus Christ and proclaim to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the Blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin.

If we say, “We are without sin,” we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing. If we say, “We have not sinned,” we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one. He is expiation for our sins, and not for our sins only but for those of the whole world.

 

It happens that things often get in our way ‘on our way’ to where we are going. Think about the last time you had a detour to follow or go around a certain time you may have been in a hurry. Could be that someone was with you to help you navigate around some unknown streets or neighborhood. Or maybe a door was locked at your office and you had to go around to another hallway or part of the office to get done what you needed to get done. These are but a couple of minor incidents we might occasionally encounter when we are on a particular trip or mission.

 

Taking those minor incidents and putting them in our spiritual lives would be akin to detouring off our paths to holiness or going through some doors that were locked for a purpose… probably because we shouldn’t be going in there. As much as we all would like to be forever and permanently so saintly and next to Godliness, our cleanliness reaches only so far before we are no longer in a state of grace. The truth is, we all are sinners and we all are looking for the mercy of Jesus Christ to relieve of the darkness of those sins.  And the more we say we don’t, the more we actually are putting our lives into the darker shadows of our transgressions.

 

John wrote to assure us that ‘we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.’ He was sent with love and came love with not only as a human God but to save us all from our human frailties of sin and death.  We are called and challenged then each day to love as He did, stepping out of the shadows of our sins and into the light of His grace and peace.




Offer It Up!   December 27, 2013

John 20:1a and 2:8

On the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene 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 do not 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.

 

Everything that God made is good. And what makes us believers of such a truth? Or are we skeptical of those things we don’t find so ‘good’ in our lives when things are not going our way?

 

When the disciples ran to the tomb and saw that it was empty, what did they see that led them to believe? Or really, did they have to see anything at all? When Mary Magdalene ran back to tell them the tomb was empty, she told them that ‘they have taken the Lord from the tomb’, indicating she did not understand that Jesus had risen. Yet when John, the other disciple whom Jesus loved went in and saw what Peter had seen—that the linens were there and the cloth for his head rolled up and put aside, he knew and he believed.

 

What does it take then for us to see, know and believe? Are we to be like Mary Magdalene and look for others that have taken Christ from us? Are we to be like Peter and have all the evidence in plain sight and still not know what to make of it, even though we’ve been given plenty of wisdom to make our own leap of faith? Or are we like the beloved disciple, the one that Jesus loved, one with a conviction and love for Him that surpassed anything the world could give him? Truth be told, we’re somewhere with all three, at any given point in our lives. Yet we should all strive to be more of course like John who committed his life to Christ. That would keep us on that path to believing everything that God made is good, including us.

 


Offer It Up!    December 26, 2012

Matthew 10:17-22

Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of men, for they will hand you over to courts and scourge you in their synagogues, and you will be led before governors and kings for my sake as a witness before them and the pagans.

When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will hand over brother to death, and the father his child; children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”

 

How many times have you wanted to take back something that fell out of your mouth? Maybe not at that precise moment but some time later, you had time to rethink your position and wanted to, at the least, edit what you had spoken. Better yet, how many times have you thought that thought about someone that you wanted to let loose just so they would have the ‘benefit’ of your opinion of them? And by opinion here, we are not talking about those that have anything to do with high esteem or regard.

 

When these types of experiences happen to us, it is evident we are not in tune so much with a spirit-filled or grace-filled time in our life. More likely, we are all about our own selves, selfishly venting our own frustrations so that others may recognize their ‘entitlement’ to our opinions. What comes from the exchange ultimately is no-win situation for either party.

 

Instead, we should pray for the words of the Holy Spirit to guide us. More often, silence can carry a message that so many words would never accomplish. And in so doing, we allow more time for the Holy Spirit to enlighten us as we wait.

…do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

 

As often as it has happened that the hurting words have fallen out, it can also happen that the Holy Spirit with words we have ‘no idea’ where they came from has led us to share them. Of the two, we know which is the better ‘gift’. As with all the gifts from the Holy Spirit, let us pray for the wisdom to know when to speak and always find the right time to keep silent.





Offer It Up!    Christmas Day, 2013

Luke 2: 6-11

While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.  The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.






Offer It Up!   Tuesday, December 24, 2013

From the Zenit website...   the time is now for us all.

Pope: Are Our Souls Open To Receive the Lord or Does It Have a 'Do Not Disturb' Sign?
This was the question Pope Francis posed today during his homily at Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father reflected on the approaching Christmas celebration, a time that calls us to live everyday waiting for the Lord.
“We, as the Church, accompany Our Lady in this path of waiting,” the Pope said. “The Lord comes two times: that which we commemorate now, the physical birth and when he comes to conclude history.” However, he noted, there is a third coming of the Lord: that which occurs every day.”
“The Lord visits His Church every day!” the Pope exclaimed. “He visits each one of us and our souls enters into this similarity: our soul resembles the Church, our soul resembles Mary. The fathers of the desert say that Mary, the Church, and our souls are feminine and that which is said of one, can similarly said about the other. Our soul is also waiting, in this waiting for the coming of the Lord, an open soul that cries: ‘Come, Lord!’”
Each one of us in these days, he continued, is called to come in this time of Advent. We are called to be pilgrims in this time; pilgrims that have the virtue of vigilance. The Holy Father called on the faithful to ask themselves whether their souls are open to the coming of the Lord.
“For this the Church invites us to pray this “Come!”, to open our soul and that our soul be, in these days, vigilant in waiting. To keep watch! What happens in us if the Lord comes or if he doesn’t come? If there is a place for the Lord or if there is a place for parties, for shopping, for making noise...Is our soul open like the Holy Mother Church and how Our Lady was open? Or is our soul closed and we have attached a sign on the door, very courteous, that says: ‘Do not disturb!’”
Concluding his homily, Pope Francis encouraged the faithful to repeat the prayer calling for the Lord to come into our souls this time of Christmas.
“May it be an open soul, a big soul, to receive the Lord in these days and that you may hear that which the antiphon the Church will recite tomorrow: ‘Know that today the Lord comes! And tomorrow you will see his glory!’” the Pope exclaimed. (J.A.E.)
http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/39039



Offer It Up!   Monday, December 23, 2013

So here it is, just two days away. All the preparation and all the waiting will soon be over. How many of us will be ready? How much of the preparation will be worth it? And when it is all said and done and the hugeness of the glorious event has passed by, how will we continue to hold it in the present instead of something that happened like so many days ago?

 

As wonderful as the birth of Jesus is, how great is it that He came for us to save us? Maybe Mary and Joseph had some inkling they were the parents of the Savior of the World. Maybe our parents didn’t have or don’t have such insight. And maybe we don’t have such insight to our heritage and our children either. Yet, as children of God, we are all called be some one and some thing.

 

There is refining. There is cleansing. There is purifying. There is conversion. And they are all ongoing. As with each breath and each day we have, we are all given that time to cooperate with His plan. Cooperation means we say ‘yes’, totally and unconditionally, to what God has for us, in spite of what it might mean to the superficial joys we might care to experience. As it was with John as those around asked, ‘What will this child turn out to be?’, so may it be with us as we lead others to their paths of salvation. Our preparation has just begun.

 


Offer It Up!    Sunday, December 22, 2013

The fourth Sunday of Advent has placed us on the final path to the stable in Bethlehem. We have travelled through the Advent weeks with Mary and Joseph, anticipating the birth of a child. For each of us this experience is shaped by our own participation in the mystery of Christ with us. 

 

We are surrounded by so many distracting things, events, cultural norms, cultural challenges, demands on our time, all tugging at us from different directions. Happy Holidays is becoming the clarion call of our American Way. As for Christmas, the birth of Christ, the advertisers and profit-makers would like us to keep it quiet to blend it all into "Happy Holidays", giving the Incarnation a quiet place along with all the other holidays. If you choose to celebrate Christ at Christmas, celebrate it with like minded persons but don't push it on the world. 

 

As a Disciple of Jesus Christ, you have been commissioned to proclaim His message to the world! In baptism you were born into the very life of God.  Jesus, the Babe in the Manger, came to be one with us, and we celebrate that He is with us on this feast. We should also long to share the Good News with everyone. 

 

During these remaining days till December 25 and throughout the Christmas Season, may we each open our hearts and allow God to fill us with His grace so that we may enthusiastically share the mystery of Christ with us, the mystery of unity in God's kingdom.

 

Pray! Pray! And Pray even some more! Pray so that all the baptized may seek to fulfill the baptismal call to walk as children of the light, that all may fulfill their baptismal anointing as priest, prophet and king.

 

In our families at Christmas as we gather together, wouldn't it be great to begin with a reading from Scripture, for instance the Gospel announcing Jesus birth. Or maybe some moments sharing with one another the wonder of it all in our own stories of God with Us. Fathers, when possible leading their family prayer, in those situations where there is no father, the family leader would take the opportunity to point to God's presence in prayer. Can we imagine God longing to bring His Kingdom to its fullness and depending on each of us to do our part in bringing this about?

 

Mary did her part by saying yes; Joseph did His part in responding to the angel's message and taking Mary into His home as his wife. Throughout the centuries holy men and women have done their part in proclaiming the Gospel message. The Church throughout the world, the martyrs, the cathedrals, the parishes in every hamlet all are reminders to you and to me that we also have a part to play, no matter how seemingly small and insignificant.

 

In two more days, we celebrate the birth of Jesus all through the Christmas Season—December 25th until the Baptism of the Lord, January 12th.  Celebrate throughout the Season. Come, Lord Jesus. Start today and make Sacred Heart Parish, Wichita Falls, the Light of Christ throughout the Christmas Season!

Amen. Amen. Amen.

Deacon



Offer It Up!   Saturday, December 21, 2013

Luke 1:42:45

Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.

 

How does it happen to any of us that we are chosen to serve our God? He comes to us all in so many different fashions, so many different people and so many different circumstances that we cannot help but accept His invitation.


We may not hear God’s call at a specific moment. We may not see the pillar of clouds as our guide by day or the glow of the burning flame in the darkness of the night to know our next step. Yet with faith, with acceptance of His will, just as Mary did, we may come to know our mission and our faith as we are led and believe.





Offer It Up!   Friday, December 20, 2013

The journey to Bethlehem is long and difficult as the time for the baby's birth draws near. Joseph is so caring and attentive in his efforts to make this time more bearable. As he thinks… ‘Soon we will be in Bethlehem. There are so many travelers, will there be place to rest?’ 

 

‘The wonder of this all still overwhelms me! The words of the angel have become a reality as the life within me stirs and soon the son promised by the angel will be with me and with Joseph. What lies in the future for us?’ Mary may well have had these thoughts along the journey to Bethlehem…

 

Mary, can I even begin to understand the wonder of the Incarnation as you experience it? You responded in all humility as you were ‘the handmaid of the Lord’, as was done unto you according to the angel's message, God's Word.  And the Word became man, took on flesh and blood from you and dwells among us. 

Too frequently I live as if that were not so. Too frequently we all live as if it were not so.

 

Jesus, God with us, is here now because of God's love for us, and because of your yes, Mary. And now, I too am being asked to say yes. Yes, to God's invitation as it has hovered over me now for over seven decades and I have responded more with maybe than a definitive yes. 

 

As I ponder your life as Mother of God, I long to be able to live the yes I sometimes have the strength of faith to say. Pray for me, pray for us all that we may see clearly, and in imitation of you, live the ‘yes’ of love.

 

As we receive the Father's gifts of love, may we know in faith and in action how to give as we receive. As we pour out the love we receive may we always see clearly that to do so we become a channel of peace, of love, of understanding, of consolation, of hope and of joy.

 

May my constant prayer these days of celebration and always be "Come, Lord Jesus!"

Deacon

 
 


Offer It Up!   Thursday, December 19, 2013

Samson, John the Baptist, the Spirit of God, angels, the scriptures this  day point to God's saving action throughout time.  An angel appears to the mother of Samson and reveals her barrenness is ended, she will bear a son.  This son will be led by the Spirit of God. In Samson, Israel realizes that God is with them.

 

Zechariah has difficulty believing the angel Gabriel when he reveals that in his advanced years he and Elizabeth will be given a son. This son will be filled with the Spirit of Elijah, the Spirit of God, and will lead many of the Chosen People to return to the God who is always rescuing them. 

 

These readings today point us to the wonder of the Incarnation as  we prepare to receive Jesus the Christ anew into our lives. As we prepare to celebrate the Incarnation, the mystery of God with us, we ponder the Spirit coming into our lives—our world—in this time and in eternity. 

 

Today, spend some time in the silence God makes available to you and let the Spirit speak to your mind and heart. See in your world how God is making Himself present, especially in those closest to you. He first entered the world of Joseph and Mary as a powerless infant, how is entering your world this day. Be surprised, yet believe.

Deacon


Submitted by LS... this from Pope Francis and his homily, in part, today.
 

“Humility is necessary for fruitfulness,” Pope Francis said at Mass this morning in the Casa Santa Marta. The Holy Father said that the intervention of God overcomes the sterility of our life and makes it fruitful. Then he put us on guard against the attitude of pride that makes us sterile.

“Humility is necessary for fruitfulness. How many people imagine they are just, like Michal, but who are really [sorry souls (poveracce)]. The humility to say to the Lord: ‘Lord, I am sterile, I am a desert’ and to repeat in these days this beautiful antiphon that the Church makes us pray: O Son of David, O Adonai, O Wisdom – today! – O Root of Jesse, O Emmanuel, come and give us life, come and save us, because only You can, by myself I cannot!’ And with this humility, this humility of the desert, this humility of a sterile soul, receive grace, the grace to flourish, to give fruit, and to give life.”

 


Offer It Up!   Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A new contributor today...  thank you Paul B.

 

It is exactly one week to Christmas Day!

 

How does the Lord desire us to prepare ourselves, in heart mind, soul, and deed to receive Him  wholeheartedly?  How can we make more room for Jesus in our hearts? What unnecessary baggage can we unload? Matthew 1:18-24 describes Joseph's plan to "quietly divorce" Mary to spare her disgrace over her "unplanned" motherhood.

 

BUT, as with Mary, the angel spoke to Him with a similar message:  Don't be afraid; The Spirit is upon and within Mary (thus in you... in us); take her into your heart and home (as has Mary), as you will, in turn, be taking in Christ.  How do we respond to God's same request? Do we see and look for Christ in others?

May our next week truly focus on hearing AND responding to God's desire that we prepare ourselves to receive Him wholeheartedly and without question.

Paul B.

 


Offer It Up!   Tuesday, December 17, 2013

We are not called upon to do all the good possible,

but only that which we can do.

Occupy yourself less about yourself

and more about God.

 

It is not enough to acknowledge our faults;

we must correct them.

Profit by the experiences of the past for the future.

You will be happy in making others happy. 
In the accomplishment of good

we must show forth in our every act a perfect justice. 

Do not require of everybody

the same virtues and qualities.

Bear with the defects of others.

Endeavor not to cause others to suffer

and you yourself try to endure

the little annoyances which are unavoidable

in the necessary relations with others. 

Charity does not consist in loving one or two persons

and being indifferent to all the rest. 
If we love our Lord with our whole heart,

if we serve him faithfully,

we shall be happy even in this life. 

To love in the right way is to accomplish the whole Law;

it is to begin that happy life

which will have its perfection only in heaven,

where we shall live forever with a holy and perfect love.

Mother Theodore Guerin

 


Offer It Up!   Monday, December 16, 2013

Psalm 25:4-5ab, 6-7bc, 8-9

Your ways, O LORD, make known to me; teach me your paths,

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior.

Why are we not seeking this path everyday? And if we are, why are we not doing it more than just at the beginning of the day He gives us? As we have heard, the path may not always be easy but it will certainly be worth it. If we truly are to seek His ways and Truth, we must then be prepared for all that He gives us. That is the path to salvation.

Teach me your ways, O Lord.

 

Remember that your compassion, O LORD, and your kindness are from of old.

In your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O LORD.

For those times we find the path not to our liking or not what we expected—we need His compassion and mercy. For it is in His kindness and with His forgiveness that we are brought back into His goodness, His grace. It is certainly not because of any ‘good boy’ or ‘good girl’ points we’ve earned. They help, yes but it is all because of His love for us.

Teach me your ways, O Lord.

 

Good and upright is the LORD; thus he shows sinners the way.

He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way.

For sinners are blinded to their own ways and need to be shown where they need to go. As much as they (we) would like to do it solo, it is not going to happen. We must humbly put ourselves at His mercy, giving up our worldly ways for His way of justice. Justice requires repentance and repentance calls for contrition. From there, we have a responsibility to stay in His graces as He continues to show us His Way.

Teach me your ways, O Lord.




Offer It Up!    Sunday, December 15, 2014

As much as we think how great it is to give and use our gifts—and of course it is—it is of some import as well to be receptive and appreciative of those gifts we have received. From others, from what we have done on our own and especially from what we have recognized as talents and gifts from God… which of course covers everything.

 

Think about the things you do everyday, whether it’s something you do for your job or something you do for others as a volunteer or something as your vocation or a hobby. However it is that you do it or it gets done, somehow it is a result of something you have been given earlier in your life so that you may do something with it at this time.  Doing what you are doing now was part of some sort of preparation some days ago, some weeks ago, some years ago really. Everything done today is part of some sort of preparation from an earlier time.

 

Thank You God for Advent. Thank You God for those times You give us that are not Advent (or Lent!) so that we may prepare our hearts and souls for salvation. Thank You for all that You have given us so that we may give all that to others. For there is no greater gift than the love You have given us.




Offer It Up!   Saturday, December 14, 2013


Lord Jesus, I come before you, just as I am.

I am sorry for my sins, I repent of my sins,

please forgive me.

In your name,

I forgive all others for what they have done against me.

I renounce Satan, the evil spirits and all their works.

I give you my entire self.

Lord Jesus, now and Forever, I invite you into my life Jesus.

I accept you as my Lord and Savior.

Heal me, change me, strengthen me

in body, soul and spirit.

Come Lord Jesus, cover me with your precious blood,

and fill me with your Holy Spirit,

I love you Jesus. I praise you Jesus.

I thank you Jesus.

I shall follow you every day of my life.

Amen




Offer It Up!   Friday, December 13, 2013

Matthew 11:16-19

Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’ 
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ 
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”

It would similar to quitting driving one’s car because you had a flat one time.

It could be like not brushing your teeth anymore because there could be poison in toothpaste that kills mice.

And what about those people that don’t go or quit going to church because of the sinners and hypocrites they would be around. Nope, not going to do that...

 

How is it that so many people seem to rationalize themselves straight into a world of naïve oblivion and stupor? They willfully choose to ignore the wisdom that has been handed down for generations. And not just wisdom but common sense as well. And it is not just them—it’s all of us too!

 

We filter what we hear and turn it into what we want it to be, most often for the good of those around us as well as our own. Our ‘ judgment ears’ and our ‘faith goggles’ help us keep a steady keel, a balance and poise of what is good and right. We get that from those that have known before us and what we have come to know as right and true on our own. For though it is our faith that makes us strong, it is not impenetrable. It's the other part that's not 'most often' we have challenges with.

 

We have our weaknesses that we succumb to and we have a God that brings us back through them. He sent His Son for that purpose. Our purpose is to live so that what He gave to save us—His life and death—was not in vain.

 


Offer It Up!   Thursday, December 12, 2013

Today, December 12,  we look  to Our Lady of Guadalupe.

In the mid 16th century, Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego in Tepeyac.  To this day, pilgrims visit her shrine in Mexico and many are dedicated to Our Lady of the Americas. 

 

Really this should be a time of prayer for the World, in particular for all our people in the Americas going to Mary as our Mother and humbly expressing our needs to her in recognition of her love. For she has displayed on this day and many occasions in visiting us, exhorting us to  prayer and reminding us to do whatever Jesus tells us. We are too often out of wine, and in need of changing the water of life without God, into the wine of life with God now  and  forever.

 

During the last 50 years, for whatever reason,  many pious devotions faded into no devotion for so many. The rosary, a prayer that had been a source of  divine grace for many Catholics, became more a good luck charm than a means of praying  and fervently meditating on the mysteries of faith. There is movement to return to these popular devotions and in particular to pray the rosary that we would all do well to promote.

 

Pray to Mary this day and all days that she may lead all persons to Jesus her son, and OUR LORD.  Many have lost the way and each of us can be stepping stones to guide them back to the path to holiness of life.  Each day little opportunities arise to witness to faith, to speak a word of faith, to acknowledge Jesus Christ, to share a Scripture verse, or a favorite Scripture story or parable. We all have those God moments that occur in the course of our daily lives.

 

Please God; grace us with an awareness of Your abiding presence. 

Look toward the east, look to Bethlehem and see the Glory of God.

Deacon




Offer It Up!   Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Matthew 11:28-30

Jesus said to the crowds: “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

It could go like this…

 

You want me to help you with that?

Nah, I got it.

You sure?

Yup, piece of cake.

Uh, it looks like you’re about to lose what you got there, buddy.

Nope. Like I said, I got it.

Well if you change your mind, let me know.

Mm huh… thanks.

 

In a world that seems to insist that we make it on our own, do it on our own and carry the load on our own, Jesus tells us that it just ain’t so.  His words, His love, His mercy, all fly in the face of what the world would have seek out in our ‘images’ of perfection. And that is just what they are... images, not the real thing.

 

Whether our burdens are the tangible sort-those of which we have to physically carry-or those of an emotional type that have been with us in grief and sorrow, Jesus will share that burden with us. If we are under the weight of sin, with the restlessness and pain that it brings us as we are less than in His graces, we can learn from Him what forgiveness will do for our souls and find comfort and peace.

 

He wants us to know that He knows and cares. There is rest in Him. In His love we will be better able to understand and carry the crosses of our lives. With each one, we grow in our holiness and put ourselves in a position to help others do the same. We can do so with the realness of Christ's love and mercy, His Truth and way and light.

 
 


Offer It Up!   Tuesday, December 10, 2013

In this brief Advent season, our eyes are looking toward Bethlehem.  Do you ever stop and reflect with wonder at this little town in a far off corner of the earth as the birthplace of Our God?

 

What is the significance for you that God chose to be born of a humble virgin, in stark poverty? Why not be born in a palace with all the opulence possible in this creation? Instead He, who was present at the moment of creation, has chosen to be part of creation in its humblest reality!

 

Are we ready to meet Him at our time of His birth? The wonder of the mystery of the incarnation takes place over and over in the hearts of men and women in our time. Jesus is born again in the hearts of persons who are found and whose minds and hearts are open to allowing the Lord of Lords to rule in their lives. The Church at present is calling us all to New Evangelization.  Daily, our Holy Father, Pope Francis speaks to all of  us of the call to mission. No matter where we are, no matter who we are among the baptized, we are called to evangelize. Called to be open and aware of those moments when we can speak of the love of God and the revelation of His saving love in Christ Jesus. For so many of us there is the need to fall passionately in Love, with love. As John says to us in His gospel ...God is love.

 

Can we grasp that in this instance, God is love, that love is a verb? To say that God is love is to learn that God loves. 

He is forever seeking the lost sheep. 

Forever welcoming home the Prodigal child. 

Forever embracing those who turn to Him as they repent of their sins. 

This Advent season, will you and I stop, be still and know that God is in us?  The Holy Spirit is loving and guiding us, longing for our love!

Deacon

 
 


Offer It Up!   Monday, December 9, 2013
Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-12

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.
In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.

 

Next time you start to complain about the particular conditions you might be facing or experiencing, you might want to recall these verses from Ephesians. For if we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, what difference can the conditions of the world ultimately carry against us?

 

That is where we get caught in the cross-hairs of our values—what we tend to value more, or less, of what the world will offer us. Do we submit to the conditions and go with the systems and structures of the world or do we reevaluate and give ourselves up to the Maker of all things good? Do we choose to moan about what we can do little about or change our tune and give prayer and praise to the One who can?

 

Sometimes we try to out-smart ourselves and even God it seems when we choose to go our way instead of His. What makes the greatest sense is to let go our human intelligence and rely more on the spiritual intelligence that is wisdom. The wisdom that comes from prayer and from letting the Holy Spirit be our guide and using the gifts we have… appropriately. That’s way better than trying to make it happen on our own, as if we were to accomplish anything on our own anyway.  

Offer It Up!   Sunday, December 8, 2013


Romans 15:4-9

Whatever was written previously was written for our instruction, that by endurance and by the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to think in harmony with one another, in keeping with Christ Jesus, that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Welcome one another, then, as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God. For I say that Christ became a minister of the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, to confirm the promises to the patriarchs, but so that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written:

Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles and sing praises to your name.

 

Paul knew what he was talking about when he wrote to the Romans. Well, we can say he had it pretty much figured out in all of his letters and writings. Taking the writings from scripture then—before what even Paul had put down—and then adding his own ‘encouragement’, we have throughout the bible a veritable instruction book for our lives.

 

While we all may not have the most harmonious lives with the people we know and even live with, we still may endure and can put forth the effort as we awaken to the change and conversion going on in our lives in Jesus Christ. What change is that you ask? The conversion we go through as we pray for and allow the grace and love of Christ to take hold of us as we submit to Him. It’s called metanoia. From the Greeks, it means to change, to repent and move from one’s past on to harmony with the Father and Son. And it’s with the Holy Spirit who brings about such change in us.

 

Let us all then live and sing in one accord and one voice as we glorify God our Father. We are in a better way today because of His faith in us, His mercy for us and His eternal love and forgiveness He sent to us in His Son Jesus Christ. Indeed, let us praise His name.




Offer It Up!   Saturday, December 7, 2013
Happy Birthday Theresa!


Isaiah 30:19-21

He will be gracious to you when you cry out, as soon as he hears he will answer you. The Lord will give you the bread you need and the water for which you thirst. No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher, while from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears: “This is the way; walk in it,” when you would turn to the right or to the left.

 

We all go through the messy stuff of life; stuff we do on our own and stuff that seems to find us even when we are doing our best to stay away from it. As faithful followers of Christ, we sometimes think, ‘Really Lord? Don’t I do enough to stay in Your love?’ It’s as if the good and blessed things of our lives are tokens of His appreciation and we are adding them up as we ‘do good’ and stay from evil. We seem to forget that He also has us endure those things that we suffer through to further appreciate the love He has for us. How could we know His goodness without knowing ‘adversity and thirst?’


Without such pain, there can be no healing, no growth… no conversion. And then where would we be?

Where we would be without Jesus Christ would ultimately bring us pain and hardship, regardless of the secular and worldly pleasures and gratifications we indulge in. Living then a Christ-centered life allows for us to experience a life in His joy and peace. It gives us an opportunity to use and live our gifts as others witness our walk. In this season of Advent we can devote ourselves to growing faithfully and spiritually as we prepare our hearts in hope, joy and peace.




Offer It Up!   Friday, December 6, 2013

  As submitted by Deacon Benoit...

 

Pope Francis: Christian Words Without Christ Hurt, Are a Deception

Commenting on Jesus’ parable of the man who built his house on rock, the Holy Father explained that Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for knowing the commandments, but not implementing them in their lives.

 

They are "good words," he said, but if they are not put into practice "not only do they not serve us, but they hurt, they deceive us, they make us believe that we have a beautiful home, but without a foundation.” The “Eternal Rock” mentioned in the first reading from Isaiah is Jesus Christ, he said. “It is a strong word, it gives life, you can go forward, you can withstand all attacks if this word has its roots in Jesus Christ.”

 

“A Christian word,” he continued, “that does not have its vital roots in the life of one person, in Jesus Christ, is a Christian word without Christ! And Christian words without Christ deceive, they hurt! An English writer once said, speaking on heresies, that heresy is a truth, a word, one truth that has become crazy. When Christian words are without Christ, they start to go towards the path of madness.”

 

The Holy Father also warned that Christian words without Christ lead to vanity and pride. The Lord calls us to build our lives upon Him, the true Rock, he said.

Concluding his homily, the Pope called on the faithful to make an examination of conscience in order to understand if our words and actions follow Jesus Christ.

"May the Lord give us this grace of humility to say words with Jesus Christ, founded on Jesus Christ,” he said.

 

J.A.E.         www.zenit.org

 


Offer It Up!   Thursday, December 5, 2013

Isaiah 25:6

A feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.

 

Matthew 15:

Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over–seven baskets full.

 

As we continue our Advent journey, the readings from Isaiah and Matthew’s gospel invite us to look with Hope toward Christ’s coming in Glory. Come to the feast, rich food, choice wines. 


In the Gospel we are in the presence of a compassionate Lord Jesus who multiplies meager food and satisfies the 4000. He cured all their ills, and before letting them return home, He fed them. After Isaiah’s prophecy, we are given in Jesus a glimpse of the life to come.

 

In light of all that is given us, how do we prepare in Advent? All around us the cacophony of busy retailers clearly calls us to indulge ourselves. Reach out and consume to your heart’s content. It’s all about you and your wants. Come—if you don’t have cash, use plastic and we’ll let you pay later. 

 

Compare that with ‘Come to the feast that will last forever.’ The feast where everyone has a sufficiency of the richest of everything. Look, I have created the cosmos for you now, what will later be is beyond your comprehension, but trust, live faithfully, love passionately; see My presence in all who share life and the wonders of creation.

You, yes you, are my beloved.


Deacon




Offer It Up!   Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Luke 10:21-24

Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Turning to the disciples in private he said, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” 



Eyes looking ahead to the incarnation. Advent is a time of preparing for the coming of Christ in mystery. The incarnation bodes for new life, the promise of life forever. 


In Luke's gospel, we meet Christ welcoming the 72 after their mission of proclaiming the Good News. They return truly excited about the action of the Holy Spirit in their lives, and Jesus filled with the Spirit responds joyously praising the Father for revealing to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.  We little ones rejoice to open our minds and hearts to the Spirit during Advent, praying for an increase in Faith and the ability to read the signs of God’s presence in every aspect of our lives.


The prophecies of Isaiah also warm our hearts as we listen and see the fulfillment of these prophecies in Jesus the Christ. We prepare this season for a new year foiled with expectation of His coming in glory. We live in faith, and hope for the coming of that Kingdom of Peace beyond our imaginings. As we learn to truly look to the other, and live the virtue of charity in all circumstances, we find joy. We discover the meaning of rejoicing always. We become trusting enough to cast all our cares to the Lord, realizing that His promises never will fail, His steadfast love endures for eternity.


May each day in Advent bring with it a deeper awareness of Christ  in our midst. May we each sense His call to be with Him, to repent as we need to and to live Christ in us.

Deacon




Offer It Up!   Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The season of Advent begins as we hear like a clarion call the words of Isaiah, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord. to the house of the God of Jacob, that  he  may teach us His ways and  we may walk in His  paths."


As you begin to prepare for the coming of the Lord, does this call from Isaiah have a pull on you? How will you spend your time and resources this Advent season? Does Isaiah's call drown out the call of a consumer God? The hawkers of goods are on the prowl, their eyes glowing as they revel in dreams of bigger profits, and those who worship gathering stuff compete violently for the chance to gather indulging their wants.


Black Friday, Cyber Monday—all geared for what?  Black Friday, black ink for profiteers red ink for the blood of those addicted to consuming things that often lead to addictive behaviors, leading down paths of darkness, too often in the form of debt that draws them into the clutches of despairing behaviors.

Perhaps black should warn us of the dangers of not looking toward the light on the mountain. 


Can we perhaps be swayed by Isaiah to focus on the instruction coming from the Lord's mountain? What will it demand of you to prepare for the coming of Christ in a way that speaks to your heart? Reaching out to others? Spending time in prayer each day, prayer in a quiet place really being alone with the Lord, with Mary, with the saints and not simply giving God shared time as we drive to and fro, or busy ourselves with other endeavors?  How about some time in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament? Finding a way to skip lunch and be present to celebrate Eucharist during the week when possible? And certainly, a daily examination of conscience and life, preparing for the sacrament of Reconciliation? 


Advent is a special season of preparation for a new year, a new me.  Soul-cleaning to focus on my ultimate destiny.  The Lord comes and we have been warned repeatedly to be prepared.  Don’t we set up alarm systems to protect our stuff! Will we set up a holy life to protect the promise of eternity?

Live Faith!

Deacon  




Offer It Up!   Monday, December 2, 2013

Matthew 8:5-11

When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached him and appealed to him, saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully.” He said to him, “I will come and cure him.”  The centurion said in reply, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes; and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him,“Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the Kingdom of heaven.”

 

How often is it that we are praying for the recovery of others? For their healing and eventual well-being? Safe to say, there are those on our prayer lists that are in need of such faithfulness on a daily basis. We may even find ourselves in such need from time to time.


For all those in need, whatever the need might be, we offer our prayers with such faithfulness, as we ought, a faith founded in and on the One to Whom we offer our petitions. As the centurion asked of Jesus, we too ask of Him to bring our will to His. And as for our own worthiness, sinners that we are, dare we ask Him to enter into our homes to fulfill our prayers? Are we ready to do that? Are we as strong in our faith as the centurion? If Jesus were to reply and invite us to the banquet, would we be ready to recline with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?


Before we all get too carried away in the parties and events and the presents that lead up to Christmas Day, we can first prepare ourselves to welcome the King of Kings. These next four weeks of Advent allow us that opportunity to carry out the real tradition and real meaning of this time of year. Let our joy be evident for Him and the healing we find in Him and for others as we make ready our paths.




Offer It Up!    Sunday, December 1, 2013

Matthew 24:42-44

Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.

 

On your mark, get set, ready…well are we?

From Isaiah to Paul and the letter to Romans to the gospel from Matthew, there is an evident theme for us all to adhere: as we enter the temple let us put ourselves in a position to not only be alert but fully prepared for the time that we will see the Son of Man come.


“Let us walk in the light of the Lord’ as we are reminded in Isaiah. No place better for us to see our paths and to keep us on the straight and narrow. Yet even with so much light, there is still darkness in our lives with which we must contend-even though we know it, we still must combat against it. A priest once said, the more light we have in our lives, the more darkness we become aware of… and that is a good thing. Just as Paul reminds us to conduct ourselves, putting on the ‘armor of light.’


True, we do not know the day or the hour. Shame on us for not being ready then to be able to answer His call as we should. We busy ourselves with this and we rationalize our lives with that until we’ve managed to categorize sin as an afterthought, a slip-up or even an illness we can ‘excuse.’  Taking another look at the gospel should have us rethinking our position. With all the eating and drinking and such that was going on the days before the flood, what difference is there today in our own disregard for life? Yes, they were all busy but busy doing what?


How ready are we now? How ready will you be tomorrow… if you have the time to get ready? One taken, one left. Which one will it be for us?