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

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Offer It Up February 26th


Matthew 7:7-12
Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread, or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.
“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”

The scriptures this first week in Lent certainly are a call to prayer. Today the Church gives us a glimpse of Esther praying for her people. Wicked Haman is about to eliminate all of them and Esther is about to appeal to the King for salvation. It is an example of placing complete trust in God in a time when she felt mortal anguish.

Then in the Gospel Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount tells us to pray confidently. Trust that God who is a loving Father always listens, hears and responds. Too often we are the ones who pray as belligerent children who are perhaps throwing tantrums of "I want". Rather Our Loving Father knows what we need and is waiting to give us the best if we are willing to ask as we should.
The Opening prayer at Mass today says it beautifully, "Father we can do nothing without you. Through your Holy Spirit help us to know your will and to do it lovingly and with courage."

Jesus words in this reading conclude with the exhortation to do unto others what you want others to do for you. We hear, we read the words, but do they resonate in our minds and hearts. Are we hearing them from the Word Himself, Jesus, God, Our Savior who with the Holy Spirit gives us life and breath? How many times in our short lifetime on earth we have heard and will hear the Lord speak to us and as we look around and at our own actions?

What if someone from the unknown were to ask "Where are the Christians?" I have read about them and their beliefs; I would like to meet them.
See them—how they love one another.

See them—how they care for one another.

See them—how they love even their opponents, their enemies.

See them—how they care for the earth.

See them—how they help one another teach their children the way, the truth and the life.

I visited several churches and most of them are relatively crowded on Sundays as they gather together and sing and pray and listen to their leader but they leave so quickly and seemingly not even paying attention to one another. I wonder. I would like to meet some of them to try to understand…


God pour forth you grace into my life that I may be open to your Spirit, and seek to do your will in all circumstances. Teach me your way in all of life.

Deacon Roland


Offer It Up February 25th


The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:
“Set out for the great city of Nineveh,
and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh,
according to the LORD’s bidding.

Jonah 2:1-3a

Jonah was given a very direct order from God.Go to Nineveh and tell the people there whatever I say.Jonah didn’t want to do it.He resisted and procrastinated and excused himself from the task until he ran out of excuses.Most of all, he lacked faith that his actions would produce a positive outcome.So the Lord sent him off to stew in his stubbornness for awhile in a very uncomfortable place - the belly of a fish.Once he realized that God was serious about this task, he moved forward and did as God directed.

Jonah did not want to interact with this group of people.He didn’t know them and felt strongly that they were not going to listen to him, so what was the point?

Do you ever find yourself in a situation where you have an opportunity to spend time or make friends with someone who doesn’t really fit your idea of a likeable kind of person?Or maybe you like them, but their lifestyle and beliefs are so different from yours you can’t imagine what you would have in common?What do you do?Shake hands, say hello and then excuse yourself to go find a more comfortable group of people to hang out with, right?

God calls us to welcome all people into our lives.And, we shouldn’t just give them a simple “hello,” but a royal welcome.What does that mean?It means that we meet and greet and welcome people into our lives with the same enthusiasm and warmth that we would welcome our closest family and friends or important dignitaries.We don’t know why God puts certain people in our path and He doesn’t always want us to know.He just wants us to be open to spending time with people even when it seems uncomfortable or pointless.Someone’s future relationship with God may be dependent on our willingness to do so.

lgboyd

Take all who come as sent by Me, and give them a royal welcome. God Calling


Offer It Up February 24th


Matthew 6:7-15
Jesus said to his disciples:
“In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

“This is how you are to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

“If you forgive men their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.”

Lent is a time for prayer. Someone mentioned to me today what a wonderful season Lent is.
Really it is. A time to enter into the silence, to take time out of busy schedules to be with the Lord and to pray.

In the Gospel today we are reminded of the prayer Jesus taught the apostles and us...the prayer ‘par excellence’ petitioning God for all we need. And wonder of wonders, Jesus told us to call God "Our Father"! Can we grasp the wonder of it? Dare we?

Why not take time today to slow down with this prayer?

Take a break and in a quiet space say the Our Father very, very slowly-letting the words flood your mind and your heart. As you begin with Our Father, pause and imagine the awesomeness of this address… the creator the giver of life… Our Father... Who art in Heaven… the God of the universe creator of all that is I dare address with such familiarity... hallowed be thy name... may your name be held holy I adore you in the holy place and keep my lips my tongue in check to the mention of your name... I dare not speak it in vain... thy kingdom come... now Lord let your kingdom be shared in our lives, your reign in our lives will bring peace, love, and justice let your kingdom come.

Continue on in this way and sense the presence of God Our Father as he graces you with all you need to live in His rest.

Let the Word of God lead you wherever you go!

Take advantage of the Reconciliation services during the next weeks and draw closer to your God.

Deacon Roland


Offer It Up February 23rd


Luke 4:1-2
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan
and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days,
to be tempted by the devil.
He ate nothing during those days,
and when they were over he was hungry.

The first week of Lent.

We go into the desert with the Lord.

We listen as the Gospel reminds us of the temptations of Jesus after His baptism. We listen and we experience in our own lives the desert temptations. Jesus the man who like us experienced hunger, thirst, sleeplessness, loneliness, love, joy, pain, suffering, all the human condition can experience. The Son of God took on our human nature and obediently always striving to do the Father's will is tempted in the desert.

As we progress through our desert experience this Lent, we will be tempted. Tempted to abandon and intentions we had when we began this Holy season. The evil one will somehow gain our attention and strive to lead us on a different path. Pray God, that we have not become so enamored with our life in this culture of materialism, and this culture of death that we are not even able to recognize temptation let alone resist it. It is a time to be introspective. If we are to grow in holiness, if we are to celebrate this Easter with renewed spirits, we must make our Lenten days prayer-filled.

Would it help to have a companion on the Lenten journey? We do have one in Jesus himself as we pray, in Mary Our Mother, in God the Father. But even so, to have a member of our family wife, husband, or perhaps a friend to whom we can be accountable for our daily involvement in prayer each day. Someone with whom we can engage in a brief conversation about how we are progressing in our Lenten journey. If you would rather not then, make it a daily encounter with the Lord himself... plan a place to meet Him daily in prayer and discuss in meditative prayer, how you are celebrating this Holy Season.

Let the Light of Christ illumine all our lives and enable us to stay on the path to Glory with Him forever.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.

Deacon Roland


Offer It Up February 22nd


Luke 5:27-32
Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.
Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were at table with them. The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus said to them in reply, “Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do. I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

In this reading from this gospel, we are with Jesus as he encounters the Scribes and the Pharisees at Matthew's house after he called Levi (Matthew) to follow him. Obviously from the gospel, Matthew’s followers are tax-collectors and sinners, and the religious, righteous ones question Jesus and his disciples as to why they associate and eat with these sinners. As usual Jesus minces no words as he responds by letting them know healthy people don't need a doctor, sick people do. "I came to call sinners not the righteous."

We live in an age where persons are very conscious of health. Gyms have sprung up all over to provide income for some and places of exercise and work at staying healthy. A popular reality show the "Biggest Loser" portrays persons making painful demands on their bodies, and disciplining themselves to lose weight and of course have the chance at becoming known and gaining wealth.
All for prizes that are ephemeral. On Ash Wednesday we were reminded that we are dust and to dust we shall return. What is there in all the "stuff" you claim to own that you will take with you on the day you pass over into glory?
All of us, no exceptions are sinners. Oh, most likely some are more steeped in sin than others, but, JOY beyond imagining we can hear on Holy Saturday—"Oh happy fault that gained for us such a redeemer!" Those words in the Gospel when we really hear them bring us comfort to know that Jesus came for sinners...for us...to bring healing--Redemption.

How will I spend this day, after hearing these words? I will look within and ask MY Lord to help me see clearly where I must seek healing, to see myself as He sees me and to respond to His limitless love by loving Him and striving always to love others who share a corner of this creation with me.

Holy Trinity, I thank you for the wonder of life and the countless blessings of each and every day. I ask your forgiveness for all the lack of charity (love) which I display as easily as I walk this journey of faith. Bless all those who are in any way a part of my life and give them the healing grace they may need. Let Joy fill their hearts and lead them to a deep love relationship with Jesus. Lead us all by a holy life to the Joy and fullness of your Kingdom.
Our Father..................Amen.

Deacon


Offer It Up February 19th


Matthew 9:14-15
The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?”
Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them
?
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

How is that we can become more about God’s Kingdom here on earth? Before you answer, consider that this is the time of year to do so, more so than others as Lent gives us an opportunity for sacrifice, reconciliation and penance and offering service to others.

We give up, we offer up, we lift up… we do a lot ‘up’ stuff for sure. Over and above for the six weeks or so. Like loading up on carbs before a big bike race, we head into Lent with great intentions and before Good Friday has even dawned, what have we accomplished? Have we grown? Have done any reconciliation? Have we understood what we ‘gave up’ and what it meant?

Continue to challenge yourself day by day to live what you have set out to do, have given yourself ‘up’ to do. Don’t settle. Surrender. And trust in His ways.


Offer It Up February 18th


Mark 1:13-18

At once the Spirit drove him out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.

After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:

"This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel."

As he passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen.

Jesus said to them, "Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men."

Then they abandoned their nets and followed him.

Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Holy season of Lent is now here with the call to enter within and be focused on the wonder of being a child of God is now here. It is so easy to forget the awesomeness of it all. Created to be sharers in the Divine Reality, sharers with Him who came to renew humanity by becoming one of us, God with us, God dwelling in us. Words may come so easily but the message riding on their wings is so filled mystery that is elusive as we live lost in the wonder of created wonder.

Mark's gospel reads: Repent! The Kingdom of heaven is at hand. He who was there when it all began speaks to us, speaks the language of love that we find so attractive and perhaps paradoxically so difficult to accept.

Our desire leads us to the edge and we halt and struggle. Lent each year offers us the call to enter into new depths of faith, hope and love (charity). Will we enter the desert and journey toward the Promised Land? Forty days each year in Lent to take the path into our inner self and to meet with the Lord Jesus, with God Our Father, and with the Holy Spirit seeking the graces needed to grow in holiness.

What we discover we can share with those close to us, and listen to their shared encounter with the Mystery of the Divine One. But that encounter can be missed if we are not willing to open our hearts, to make the effort to "Be Still" and know that God is with us, each of us in the manner and with the graces that we too become the glory of God, humans fully alive in Christ.

As you began this season, many of you humbled yourselves before the Lord and received the reminder of ashes letting us all know that we are His creatures, that we are dust that has received the breath of life and that breath will one day return to God Himself as time ends and we finally come to know eternity in its fullness. May God be merciful to all and grant us all we need to live for His great honor and glory in all we say and do.

Deacon


Offer It Up February 17th


James 1:22-25

Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his own face in a mirror.

He sees himself, then goes off and promptly forgets what he looked like.

But the one who peers into the perfect law of freedom and perseveres, and is not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed in what he does.

What are you going to surrender to God today? What are you going to put in His hands, in His control, that you have been trying to manage, with or without little success? It never fails that the harder we try to make something happen on our own, the more it seems the more challenging the situation becomes. We start and build and form relationships with people to help us through times like these—the very times we are challenged to get over the hump, to get past that critical checkpoint and on to the enjoyment of success, even sharing it with those who helped get us there.

So what do we do when the pressure is on? We go back to doing it on our own, doing it ‘our way’. Relationships aside and the torpedoes be damned; we are going full steam ahead. The blinders come out and myopia sets in and all we know is that there may not be an ‘I’ in team but there sure is an ‘m’ and an ‘e’ because at this point it is certainly all about ‘me’.

Life is not and will never be about the me or the I; it will always and forever be about the you, the them and the they. That is where the surrender and trust comes in, putting it in God’s control, His Providence. Friendships, marriages, families—what are they worth? Do they mean so much or so little to leave them behind for the sake of what you want? Really? Think about that—no, pray about that—before you haphazardly reply. Putting others first will lead you to getting what you need out of life. Putting others first is putting your life in God’s control no matter the circumstance.

So back to the original question: what are you going to surrender to God today?


Offer It Up February 16th


This is the concluding segment to Pope Benedict's Lenten Message for 2010. For the message in it's entirety, please follow this link:

Christ, the Justice of God

The Christian Good News responds positively to man’s thirst for justice, as Saint Paul affirms in the Letter to the Romans: “But now the justice of God has been manifested apart from law … the justice of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, they are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (3, 21-25). What then is the justice of Christ? Above all, it is the justice that comes from grace, where it is not man who makes amends, heals himself and others. The fact that “expiation” flows from the “blood” of Christ signifies that it is not man’s sacrifices that free him from the weight of his faults, but the loving act of God who opens Himself in the extreme, even to the point of bearing in Himself the “curse” due to man so as to give in return the “blessing” due to God (cf. Gal 3, 13-14).

But this raises an immediate objection: what kind of justice is this where the just man dies for the guilty and the guilty receives in return the blessing due to the just one? Would this not mean that each one receives the contrary of his “due”? In reality, here we discover divine justice, which is so profoundly different from its human counterpart. God has paid for us the price of the exchange in His Son, a price that is truly exorbitant. Before the justice of the Cross, man may rebel for this reveals how man is not a self-sufficient being, but in need of Another in order to realize himself fully.

Conversion to Christ, believing in the Gospel, ultimately means this: to exit the illusion of self-sufficiency in order to discover and accept one’s own need – the need of others and God, the need of His forgiveness and His friendship. So we understand how faith is altogether different from a natural, good-feeling, obvious fact: humility is required to accept that I need Another to free me from “what is mine,” to give me gratuitously “what is His.” This happens especially in the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Thanks to Christ’s action, we may enter into the “greatest” justice, which is that of love (cf. Rm 13, 8-10), the justice that recognises itself in every case more a debtor than a creditor, because it has received more than could ever have been expected. Strengthened by this very experience, the Christian is moved to contribute to creating just societies, where all receive what is necessary to live according to the dignity proper to the human person and where justice is enlivened by love.

Dear brothers and sisters, Lent culminates in the Paschal Triduum, in which this year, too, we shall celebrate divine justice – the fullness of charity, gift, salvation. May this penitential season be for every Christian a time of authentic conversion and intense knowledge of the mystery of Christ, who came to fulfill every justice. With these sentiments, I cordially impart to all of you my Apostolic Blessing.

From the Vatican

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI


Offer It Up February 15th


Mark 8:11-13
The Pharisees came forward and began to argue with Jesus, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. He sighed from the depth of his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign?
Amen, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”
Then he left them, got into the boat again, and went off to the other shore.

Why does this generation seek a sign? (Mark 8:12)

"Why?" we answer back. Why should we believe in Your kindness when You allow the world to suffer?

Lent begins this week, and despite the mix of heartache and joy that will accompany the faithful, they'll hold tightly to their belief without asking God why He allows suffering - especially His Son's. They'll accept as true what they cannot see, cannot touch, cannot fully comprehend.

Faith is a supernatural gift from God to us, but in the next forty days, many will doubt because they won't receive mighty wonders and signs, despite their fasting and prayers. How God reveals Himself to us is uniquely ours and is a part of His gift. Our gift back to Him is our complete trust in His ways, whether we receive a wondrous sign or not. In return, He deepens our faith with understanding and we begin to receive all we ask for because we stop asking with misgivings but with the Wisdom He so faithfully gives us.

Elizabeth A. Tichvon


Offer It Up February 12th

Happy Birthday Margaret!


"From the end of the earth will I cry onto thee, when my heart is
overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

Psalm 61:2

For the last couple of weeks it seems the weather has gone a little bonkers all across the country.Where I live, we’ve experienced snow, sleet, freezing rain, icy roads, and lately heavy and cold winds.Now, we are preparing for more snow.

And from what I hear in my office, everyone is tired of this crazy weather and wants it to be nice again. Everyone is in a hurry for something different than what is right in front of them. I will be the first to admit, the heavy, cold winds almost got me down. I think there is nothing worse than to look out the window and see a sunny day with blue skies, but the minute you step outside, you are hit with this cold blast of windy reality. The temperature reads 32, but the wind makes it feel like 22 and it cuts right through your heavy coat.

The reality is that we cannot change the weather no matter how hard we wish or complain. It is what it is. And, at the risk of sounding a little cliché-ish, sometimes the circumstances of our lives are the same. If only it would quit raining or if only these crazy winds would stop can easily translate into if only I had enough money to pay the bills this month or if only my spouse could get with the program. Just like the weather…it is what it is.

Just as the Psalmist cries out to the Lord, “lead me to the rock that is higher than I,” we have to trust that the weather on the inside and outside of our lives is serving a purpose.Maybe the weather has turned nasty on the outside because some of us need to slow down and rest a little. Maybe the weather on the inside of our lives “is what it is” for the very same reason. We need to slow down and rest in God – allow God to lead us to where He wants us to be, which is always going to be a place that is higher and better than anything we could ever imagine.

Have no fear. A very beautiful future lies before you. Let it be a new life, a new existence, in which in every single happening, event, plan, you are conscious of Me. God Calling


A Birthday tag...

When your youngest sister has reached another birthday plateau, it could be a time to break out all the age jokes and poke all the fun at her-which she would certainly enjoy. Well, her children did celebrate this momentous occasion with a surprise party for her and there was much fun had and the fun that was poked was mostly done at her expense. She was even more surprised by the cruise they took her on... such it is to be her and the mother of such wonderful children. They obviously had some help getting that way, though their mother would be the first to tell you it was not at all any of her doing.

Margaret didn't and hasn't done it on her own-ever. Even when she was physically alone and running solo from time to time, she knew who was with her at all times. Her God and Savior.

She now has the company of a loving husband, family, in-laws, friends and all those she meets and knows to see how God does impact her life. She has truly impacted mine.

Yup, she is a living, breathing Gospel.

Happy Birthday, Baby Sister. How cool is it that God brought you into our lives and the lives of so many others.


Offer It Up February 11th

Happy Birthday Brady!


2 Timothy 3:14-15

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it, and how from childhood you have known the sacred writings that are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

When a kid reaches that age when he’s no longer a kid but more of a ‘guy’, most often it relates to his maturity. A good friend of mine is at that point of maturity in his life, reaching an age where he now can now not only drive legally, becoming sixteen today, but more importantly, begin to think and act more the young man he is than the boy he was.

We’ve watched him grow and mature for the last ten years or so and it is a beautiful experience to see him knowing and believing his faith. Sure there are those in his life that impact that maturity, particularly his family, yet it is up to Brady to choose to follow or not. What a choice he has made to continue to do the right thing as he has learned to serve and give to others, all in the name of Jesus Christ.

Happy Birthday, Brady. You are a great example for not just your friends and peers to follow but for us all to take a cue from. God has for sure blessed us with all you are and all you have given us and all you will ever be.

Proverbs 6:20-23

My child, keep your father’s commandment, and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart always; tie them around your neck.

When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, theywill watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you.
For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life


Offer It Up February 10th


The Bright Field

by R. S. Thomas

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it.
Life is not hurrying

on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

How many of us see ourselves running past the small fields of treasure? Or fretting over what may or may not have really happened in any one event? How are we at chasing out to an unknown, 'receding future'?

There comes a time when it makes complete sense to turn our lives of time over to God, even when we think we've already done it. Do it again. That is the glory and beauty of His salvation for us. Make time, more time, for those things of God and less of this world.

Psalm 118:23-25

By the LORD has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.

LORD, grant salvation! LORD, grant good fortune!


Offer It Up February 9th

Happy Birthday Cyndi!


John 15:16-19

It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.

This I command you: love one another.

"If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.

If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.

You did not choose me, I chose you.

How does that sit or fit with what you have or had planned?

Even if we ‘get’ the message that we are chosen by Him, how much of it do we really understand or even comprehend? Being chosen doesn’t mean it’s all going to be cake and ice cream from here on out. We will have pains and sorrows as we will have joy and successes. They all come with the cross that we picked up shortly after we accepted His call to follow Him. The cross of ‘It’s not about me, Lord, it’s about serving You.’

As quickly as the pain comes, it will go away soon. As bright as the sun and path might be today, He will lead through the dark and sunless ones. Both will help better understand what God has for us.

Live selflessly.

Philippians 4:11-13

Not that I say this because of need, for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient.

I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need.

I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.


A Birthday note:

Talk about someone who lives selflessly. She does just about everything she can to keep folks happy... even keeping the few dogs she has around her home happy and fed and pampered.

But that's Cyndi. She'll pamper you and she'll even let you have your own way to help yourself. In her kitchen she has a small sign that reads:

Today's Menu-

1. Take it.

2. Leave it.

Her heart is most obvioiusly that of a servant as she is here and there to serve-be it a breakfast, lunch or dinner or anything else-she'll even bring it to you if you'd like, but just like her heart and personality, she won't make you take it. Like God's love for us, it is right there for the taking. And with her hospitality, so is Cyndi's. She does that, her service, in so many other ways too, giving of herself so that others can have a better way of life.

There are elements of love, sacrifice and generosity in us all. Those elements-traits or virtues as they may be-are best exhibited by Cyndi in how she treats all of us-family, friends, friends-to-be, and even those creatures we have as pets. Her heart is as big as Texas with all the warmth of the summer sun. And from both her heart and the warmth it glows, we feel the love she has for us and for God as well.

Happy Birthday, Cyndi. We are all so glad God brought you into our lives.


Offer It Up February 8th


Mark 6:53-56
After making the crossing to the other side of the sea, Jesus and his disciples came to land at Gennesaret and tied up there. As they were leaving the boat, people immediately recognized him. They scurried about the surrounding country and began to bring in the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was.
Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel on his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.

In some of the miracles mentioned in the gospels the evangelists give many details about the persons healed and about the words and actions of Jesus. In the healings in today's gospel no details at all are given. We don't know the names of those who were healed. We don't know their illnesses. We don't know what Jesus said or did as he passed through their towns. But we do know the most important thing about this day. We know that many sick people were healed. We know that on this day Jesus was doing the work that he was sent to do. Through these miraculous healings he was teaching all the people in those towns to believe in him. He was giving them the gift of faith. And I think that the important thing for us today is the gift of faith. The details of these healings are not as important as what they represent: the faith in Jesus that we share with all of those he heals.

Tom Bannantine, S.J.,onlineministries.creighton.edu


Offer It Up February 7th


Matthew 8:16-17

When it was evening, they brought Him many who were possessed by demons, and he drove out the spirits by a word and cured all the sick, to fulfill what had been said by Isaiah the prophet:

"He took away all our infirmities and bore our diseases."

I was talking with the mother of six children some time ago and the talked turned to one of her sons who had a penchant for taking things apart to see how they worked, to see how they were put together or just to find out whatever it was inside that device or thing that made it do what it did.

'He must be extremely intelligent,' I commented.

'Oh, he scores high on all of this tests.'

'Gonna be an engineer, you think?'

'That would be great and yes, probably so. And maybe by the time he gets to college, he'll be able to put those things back together that he keeps taking apart.'

'Oh.'

'It's not a problem, not too much of one anyway. What he can't get done putting back together on his own, he brings back to his dad to help him put it back the pieces that don't fit.'

Could be that we get that way with the 'things' of our own lives that we take on as our own, a sort of 'I got this one covered on my own' type of mentality. Be it a new job, moving to a different city, adapting to changes and growth in relationships, or just finding that whatever it is that we have put together as our life is not what we want... we have some pieces left over and no place where they can fit. What do we do now?

God is the One to put things back in order for us. We can go to God our Father so that He can lift from us our troubles, ills and pains, those pieces that may not seem to fit or are even 'mis-fitted'. He is the one we go to, just like the boy's father above, helping his son put the pieces back together, making them fit where they need to fit. He does know better than us where those pieces go-no matter how broken we come to Him.

Matthew 11:28-30

"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."


Offer It Up Februray 6th


Mark 6:30-34
The Apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers, and they had no opportunity even to eat. So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place. People saw them leaving and many came to know about it. They hastened there on foot from all the towns and arrived at the place before them.

Silence.

Space.

Peace.

Our lives are lives of service to the gospel. But to achieve that life of service, we need to be anchored in God. We achieve this anchoring through the sacraments and through prayer. The chief of these prayers is contemplation.

Jesus urges us to come away from the crowds for while - to spend some time in a deserted place and to rest. This rest is essential; it gets us the renewal we require to grow in service. You cannot serve and serve and serve and not suffer. More important, those you serve will suffer as you are worn down. Blessed Mother Teresa recognized this when she asked as part of her rule for each of her Missionaries to spend time in silent adoration of the Eucharist.

Spend a little time in a quiet place and use the opportunity to talk for a while with Jesus. And from this quiet talking and adoration, emerge replenished and better able to do the work we are called to do.

Quiet.

Serenity.

In His Presence.

We grow and we become able to enrich the growth of others.

JuandelaCruzdaily-meditations.org


Offer It Up February 5th


Today is Favorites day. A selection of a favorite Scripture and a favorite devotional passage. So induldge me if you will for the next little while and take some time for the few words offered here.

August 1994

My father died and I read this at his funeral; that's when I first read this from Romans and it actually 'sticking'. For obvious reasons, it has stayed with me since. The number of times that I have read it and heard it since have given me just as many perspectives, if not an equal number of lessons of life and of God's love.

Romans 12:9-18

Let love be sincere; hate what is evil, hold on to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; anticipate one another in showing honor.

Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them.

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil; be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all.

As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

It was approximately 24 years ago when I first read this passage and it has stayed with me-off and on-since then. Some that know me might say it would have been more off than on, and they would have their reasons, legitimate as they would be, but that is the beauty of God's grace and forgiveness for indeed I am a sinner.

It is not to take the place of Scripture for nothing can do that. It is not even presented her to augment or amplify what one finds in The Word. It, this single date and page and the book from which I borrow it-God Calling-can only be seen as a method to bring one closer to God and to His Word. At least that is what I would surmise from it. It has worked for me and may do the same for you. Maybe this site does some of that for you as well. It still does for me. Thanks for being here.

Now, a few words from God Calling...

February 5

You Shall Know

Walk with Me. I will teach you. Listen to Me and I will speak. Continue to meet Me, in spite of all opposition and every obstacle, in spite of the days when you may hear no voice, and there may come no intimate heart-to-heart telling.

As you persist in this, and make a life-habit of it, in many marvelous ways I will reveal My will to you. You shall have more sure knowing of both the present and the future. But that will be only the reward of the regular coming to meet Me.

Life is a school. There are many teachers. Not to everyone do I come personally. Believe literally that the problems and difficulties of your lives can be explained by Me more clearly and effectually than by any other.


Offer It Up February 4th


Psalm 37:25

Neither in my youth, nor now in old age have I ever seen the just abandoned or their children begging bread.

It is so true that God looks at what we have inside and puts aside what we have outside. He knows better than we do what our hearts are about and what we truly treasure. This is not to say that we should not take care of what He has given us in our mortal bodies, our earthly shells, to treat them appropriately as it were. Yet why is it that we take so much of our time and energy to lose weight and shape that outside shell, focusing our sights on what we present to others in our external image instead of what really matters? You know, the sterner stuff of what greater people are made of on the inside? Our physical health is important yet is it as important as our spiritual health?

Let’s start taking an approach from the inside first, with an eagerness that leads us to a more prayerful and healthier spiritual life. It’s been said that it’s not the conditions that need altering first but ourselves. Once we change, once we start growing, the conditions will naturally follow. So it can be true then that the outside will change with time and you’ll be able to find that time more fruitful and productive, if not healthier, as you put it in His hands. And our health will improve on all fronts, while pleasing God in an active and giving way.


Offer It Up February 3rd


Mark 6:1-6

Jesus departed from there and came to his native place, accompanied by his disciples.
When the Sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished.
They said, “Where did this man get all this? What kind of wisdom has been given him? What mighty deeds are wrought by his hands! Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joseph and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?”

And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place
and among his own kin and in his own house.”
So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Jesus is back in town.

Did you hear about all he has been doing in Capernaum and the towns in Galilee? The report is that he has been curing many sick, restoring sight, the deaf hear, the lame are walking and jumping. On the Sabbath he was at the Synagogue here in Nazareth and it is amazing what he said. He caused quite a stir.

People just can't get their heads around all this. After all he grew up here among us. He was the capenter all those years, you know, Mary's son and his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. And what about his sisters? The people can't help wondering if the reports are true and how he gets to speak with such authority. He wasn't able to accomplish much here. He seemed amazed at the lack of faith among our people.

Sunday we celebrated Mass. Did you hear that Jesus was present there too? He came into our midst as bread and wine. Can you imagine? In our Church family we claim a population of families. Not quite that many were present when we gathered and celebrated in the presence of the Lord. Those that did come were able to share in His very live by receiving His Body and Blood in the form of bread and wine.

I wonder are we confident in faith that He brings life and healing. Sometimes I fear I have become too familiar with the act of worship that I lack the awe and wonder that His presence inspires. Like the citizens of Nazareth when Jesus came to them, I too can fail to see the awesomeness of His love for me, for all.

Lord, come send your Holy Spirit to strengthen me in faith, to give me hope and to teach me to love unconditionally. Grant that in all my encounters with my brothers and sisters I may always see you present in them as in a temple. Amen.

Deacon


Offer It Up February 2nd

Happy Birthday John Paul B.!


Hebrews 2:18

Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

When challenges happen in journeys, and yes they do happen even if you’ve been blessed for some time now, we look at them in the name of and for the glory of our Lord. We may even look at them as a way of ‘offering up’ a suffering, a pain or a hardship, much less than Jesus did for us carrying His cross, yet still offering up our own suffering. After a while, though, when the challenge becomes old and unwieldy, when we no longer see it as a cross to bear, frustration and disappointment starts to set in as we see that our prayer life is not up to changing our current situation.

He never said it would be easy, just worth it. And that ‘worth’ it is part of ‘worthy’ and we become that worthy, or at least come nearer to it, by bearing our crosses as He has instructed us to do. And it isn’t just about picking up our cross and stepping in line, it was about denying ourselves first and bearing up with our crosses and following Him. Just as He was tested, so shall we be tested. Not so much tested that we’ll have a score and a GPA at the end of it all but with a fullness of what God has come to share with us in His Love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.

The phrase, ‘Be patient, God is not finished with me yet’ can mean much to us all as He continues to refine us, purifying us like the gold and silver so that when He is finished, we will be in His image and likeness forever.

Malachi 3:2-3

For he is like the refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye. He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, Refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord.


Offer It Up February 1st


Take courage. Do not fear. Start a new life tomorrow. Put the old mistakes away, and start anew. I give you a fresh start. Be not burdened. Be not anxious. If My forgiveness were for the righteous only, and those who had not sinned, where would be its need?God Calling

Sometimes it can’t be helped.

Something comes up that causes you to pause and reflect on the past.It could be a recent incident or it could be something that enters your mind from the way back when. Either way, if you end up reflecting on something you regret, it’s easy to get stuck on the thought and wonder what in the world you were thinking. Then it begins – that “beating yourself up” process. Or, it could bring back feelings of anger and resentment toward another person involved.

What’s important to realize is that beating yourself up or holding on to anger and resentment doesn’t accomplish much for you or anyone else involved. It’s like getting stuck in the mud: you spin your wheels and just keep spinning yourself deeper and deeper into a rut of negative thoughts until you can’t figure out—or even give up trying—how to get back out.And, until you get yourself unstuck, it’s obvious that you aren’t going to go anywhere.

Instead of staying focused on the negative, take a moment to reflect. But instead of getting stuck in the past or beating yourself up, stop and thank the Lord that you are no longer in that same place. Yes, there is regret or hurt, but there should be joy and gladness that the Lord brought you through and taught you something in the process. Think of it this way: you can spend your time getting stuck and slinging mud around trying to work your way out of it or you can move on down the road with a glad and thankful heart. lgboyd

Psalm 3:4-5

But you, O LORD, are my shield;
my glory, you lift up my head!
When I call out to the LORD,
he answers me from his holy mountain.